Pin It

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

Written by Anthony Meindl

There was a recent New York Times piece entitled, “Where does inspiration come from?” In it, the writer discovered that the genesis of inspiration and creativity isn’t as enigmatic as we once thought. It involves three stages:

Step 1: Work.
Step 2:
Be frustrated.
Step 3:
Repeat.

Artists and creators of many different mediums and art forms were interviewed (from Alicia Keys to Patti Lupone) and the only common ingredient among all of them is this: Try again repeatedly.

So, you see, it’s not so mysterious after all.

The reason we often don’t experience greater moments of inspiration and creativity in our own work is that we quit at the “frustration” phase, not knowing that this stage is an important part of our creative development.

Learning and growth look like this:

We have plateaus of learning and then a “pop” or creative explosion or “spike” or light bulb moment or breakthrough occurs and then you get to a new level. But then you plateau for a while at this new level before you get another spike. You can stay at a plateau for long periods. Weeks, months, years. But don’t be dismayed when you feel stuck at this stage. It’s simply the gestation period.

And it’s all ascension. Always up. Even if it feels like you’re stagnant. As long as you’re staying on the path, it’s always up.

George Leonard, in his book Mastery, discusses this same learning curve for all growth and learning in life. Plateaus followed by creative pops followed by plateaus. And then he describes 3 types of personalities that get in the way of “mastery.”

The Dabbler – Reaches a plateau, gets bored because he hasn’t yet gotten a spike and then moves onto another thing. Only to repeat that pattern over and over again in various different fields.

The Obsessive – Lives only for the spike and pushes hard for those moments. Because he’s working so hard to try to get those openings – he burns out. He does everything he can to get those growth spurts but once he sees that growth has a plateau stage, he stalls.

The Hacker – Reaches a plateau but is content to just stay on that straight line. He doesn’t want to do any self-reflective work so his line extends on and on without any sort of growth spurt.

We possess a little bit of each one of these types within us, but truly what makes us fall short of our own mastery is simply stopping.

So take it from the experts.

You’re not doing anything wrong. You don’t lack the essential ingredients to make an amazingly creative and inspiring cake.

All you need to do is keep trying.

 

Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, producer, director and actor whose first feature screenplay, THE WONDER GIRLS, was the Grand Prize Winning Feature Screenplay in the Slamdance Film Festival Screenplay Competition in 2007. Prior to this accomplishment, Meindl was responsible for the production of an array of award-winning projects. His background in acting, training, and performance has afforded him the opportunity to create what has become a thriving artist community in Los Angeles.

Check out Anthony’s book, At Left Brain, Right Turn

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/watch-david-mamet-in-the-1976-sh.jpg
Watch: David Mamet in the 1976 Short Documentary ‘The Playwright Directs’
Though David Mamet is best known for his distinctive writing style in his scripts for the stage and screen, he has also directed theater and film. The 1976 short documentary titled The Playwright Directs depicts Mamet directing actors through several scenes at an almost frantic pace, dispensing pearls of wisdom throughout, like his thoughts on […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/watch-marvels-agents-of-s-h-i-e.jpg
Watch: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Bloopers
Forgetting lines? Corpsing? Delivering lines in Spanish? Unruly props? All in a day’s work on the set of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, apparently. Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, and the rest of the cast find plenty of humor while playing super-serious secret agents in the Marvel Universe. While you’re waiting for season 2 of the series […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/audtion-tapes-robin-wright-and-h.jpg
Audition Tapes: Robin Wright and Haley Joel Osment Audition with Tom Hanks for ‘Forrest Gump’
Check out Robin Wright auditioning for the role of Jenny from Forest Gump opposite Tom Hanks. Interestingly enough, Hanks doesn’t quite have Gump’s southern drawl down just yet while the other actors audition with him. In fact, Hanks would base Gump’s voice on the voice of Michael Conner Humphreys, who played the young Forrest and […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/watch-judi-dench-sing-send-in-th.jpg
Watch Judi Dench Sing “Send In The Clowns” From Back in 1995
Dame Judi Dench has such a commanding presence as a film actress that it’s easy to forget that her big break came on stage in England with the Old Vic Company in 1957. In fact, she made her Broadway debut the very next year when the Old Vic Company performed Twelfth Night and Henry V […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/bryan-cranston-emmy-award-speech.jpg
Watch: Bryan Cranston’s Emmy Award Speech: “I love to act. It is a passion of mine and I will do it until my last breath.”
The Emmy Awards weren’t the most exciting awards show this year but with Bryan Cranston winning for Outstanding Actor in a Drama for Breaking Bad, we at least got to hear one heck of a fantastic acceptance speech. “I was a kid who always looked for the shortcut,” he said. “I did happen to stumble […]