Who needs inspiration?
In answer to that title question: I do. Or did, prior to going on a short family vacation to Maine.
I used to think that inspiration – or lack thereof – was a bogus idea that gave creatives license to complain about producing lackluster work and/or an excuse to spend more time on Pinterest. I really did. And perhaps it’s because I’m only now starting to see that I’m creative or because I’ve run my own inspiration well dry from too much busy and too little life, but I’m starting to get what inspiration is really all about.
I’ve noticed that when I go any place new, whether it’s just down the street or across the country, I come home with bunches of new pictures that I can’t wait to edit and post to Instagram (my love affair with Instagram and how it has redeemed my passion for photography is a good story for another day). I’ve also noticed that when I’m home for a few days in a row, working on my laptop for the majority of the day, I have no photos worth editing and posting to Instagram. Newness breeds the desire to create; sameness breeds more of the same.
It seems like this might be a fitting analogy: let’s say a chef was tasked with taking a few repeated basics – say, a chicken breast, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and olive oil – and creating a variety of delicious meals, each one different, for every night in a week. He could probably make it happen, and it would be a good exercise in making the most of what you have. But let’s say that same chef was given free reign of a well-stocked grocery store before dinner every night and tasked with using whatever he wanted and making a meal out of it. Which would be the better show of who he really is as a chef?
Inspiration feels similar to me now. I can take pictures of sunsets and coffee and laptops until the cows come home. These are my every day surroundings that I reshuffle over and over again to create something new out of something old. That’s good practice. It really is. But I don’t get to really see what I’m capable of, and start to grow in my abilities, unless I’m able to capture new surroundings on a regular basis. And as unlikely as it once seemed to me, I’ve found that I really do get inspired by seeing new places, by looking through magazines, by flipping through websites. I totally get it now.
Being in Maine, an abundantly beautiful place, at the height of an abundantly fast-paced month, did so much to refuel my creativity. I even whipped out my real camera and took a few pictures! And I love them!
I’m so glad I have these pictures to remind me of our time in Maine, but even more so to remind me of what happens when time is taken to be surrounded by new inspiration. It’s always a good thing.