Inspiration is a tricky little son of a bitch.

Really. Inspiration’s mother was the daughter of Necessity, the mother of Invention, who was the daughter of Repetition, the mother of Skill (from her first marriage), who was widely known to be a ranting, annoying, bitch.

The more we write, the less we die.

We want to be inspired, so we sit diligently at our laptops, waiting for it to hit. And wait… and wait… and wait…

Then nothing. So we wait some more…

Finally, we get frustrated and give up and get on with our uninspired lives. No sooner do we succumb to the doldrums of existence—BLLLAAAAAAANG!—that little son of a bitch pops in. “Hey, ass hat!” He taunts, “check this out!” Then proceeds to flood your mind with the beginnings of this brilliant and life-changing idea. Your fingers fly at breakneck speed as Inspiration eloquently dictates revolutionary prose like an auctioneer on a coke binge. Then—GLLLLLRRAAARRP!—you hit a wall. Stuck again.

Why is this?

Looking at the etymology of the word “inspire,” it began meaning “to breathe” or “breathe into.” Origins of this meaning date back to before 1000 B.C. As the language evolved it began to take on more religious connotations leaning more toward “to breathe in spirit,” or “breathe to life.”

Life is an interesting word. What is living? At its very core, life is breathing. We could stop eating and live for months; stop drinking water and live for days; but we can’t go without breath for more than a few minutes. So it could be said that breathing is the most important thing in our lives. How often do you think about breathing—the most important thing in your life? Unless you’re a yogi or climbing Mt. Everest, it’s probably a pretty rare occurrence.

Just like the air that we breathe, Inspiration is always there, unseen; ebbing and flowing. And, just like breathing requires us to exhale in order to inhale, Inspiration requires an expiration before again fill the lungs of creativity.

Is life supposed to be an endless cycle of rampant creativity followed by utter stagnation? Maybe. But the trick is not to argue with either. Be just as open to the exhale as you are to the inhale; to the expiration as you are to the inspiration. Then the ebb and flow are enjoyable. Acceptance and allowance of something, in a sense, puts one in control.

Now you can expect Inspiration, all grown up, well beyond mother’s clutches.

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