People often compare inspiration to lightning. They say that lightning doesn’t strike twice. So, how to get struck by lightning and not burn to the ground?
The bad news is the inspiration is not magic. The good news is that this means you can take steps be get inspired more often and to make more of inspiration when it does happen.
Inspiration tends to strike at strange moments: walking in the park, smoking outside work, standing at the coffee machine, showering, cooking, ironing, driving home, exercising.
The common denominator is that it usually happens when you are doing an activity that is so familiar that your movements are automatic. You do not need to be consciously directing or thinking about your actions.
So, the question is: how often do you do these kinds of actions? Can you do them more often, thereby exposing yourself more frequently to lightning? The simple answer is yes! You need to do these activities more often and then you will get more inspiration.
The other strategy is to practice your skills until they become automated, meaning inspiration can then also strike when you are working.
If you are a writer (any kind: a poet, a copywriter, a journalist etc) you need to set aside time every day to write. Preferably the same time of day, for a set period. During this time, you may only write. You may not check email, look at Facebook, surf the internet or stare out the window. You must write. It doesn’t matter WHAT you write, merely that you write.
Then the next day, quickly review what you wrote and then start writing again. The more often you do this, you will find it easier and easier to slip into the ‘writing frame of mind’ and to continue writing. You will also get better at writing and find that, instead of thinking about HOW you want to write something, you are thinking about WHAT you want to write about. Until finally, while you are writing, amazing ideas and developments and connections will just start to happen to you… lightning.. flashing and striking left right and centre.
The same goes for any process. Find a time, set it aside and dedicate it to just doing that one thing. Over time, you will find that, strangely enough, inspiration and lightning will start to strike there and then on a regular basis.
Sure, some days it will just not happen. Some days you will produce rubbish. But on average, you will be more inspired and produce better work than ever before. But you must take the time.
This is the principle behind the amount of practice that sports stars do. Lionel Messi isn’t consciously thinking about making amazing moves on the football pitch, he is trusting his hours of training and practice to allow him to respond in the right way, in the moment.
The same is true of inspiration in EVERY field of human endeavour. To get to the place where it is high level and reliable, you need to put in the hours, focus on improvement and simply turn up… every single day.
This way, not only will you get struck by lightning repeatedly, but you will not get burnt to the ground.
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