Where Does Inspiration Come From?

  • Pin It

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

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/dan-stevens-summer-in-february.jpg
Dan Stevens Recalls When Shia LaBeouf Disrupted One of His Broadway Performances: “I wish I’d had a broadsword then”
Though Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is billed as the final movie in the fantasy series, it still incorporates some new blood into the mix alongside franchise favorites like Ben Stiller and Robin Williams. The most significant new addition is Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey, who plays Lancelot. Lancelot doesn’t realize that […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/bradley-cooper-the-elephant-man.jpg
Bradley Cooper Takes A Grad School Dream To The Broadway Stage With, ‘The Elephant Man’
Bradley Cooper is proving to be an actor who wants a career defined by strong work. Instead of solely relying upon franchises like The Hangover, the Oscar nominee is mixing it up again between the big screen and the stage. Cooper is starring in The Elephant Man on Broadway this theatre season. It’s a role […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/bob-balaban-a-delicate-balance.jpg
Bob Balaban on Being a Character Actor: “It’s what I do and who I am and I really enjoy it”
With Glenn Close and John Lithgow in the cast of Broadway’s A Delicate Balance, it’s okay if you didn’t notice that veteran actor Bob Balaban is also in the cast. Balaban, who is probably best known for his roles in Christopher Guest‘s mockumentaries and for his supporting roles in dozens of other films, has returned […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/michael-c-hall-hedwig.jpg
Michael C. Hall on His Broadway Life After ‘Dexter': “There was a desire to perform an exorcism”
When it was announced that Michael C. Hall was replacing Andrew Rannells in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, it was a bit of a surprise. It wasn’t that people thought Hall couldn’t pull off the role of a transgender rock star — he was previously on Broadway as the Master of Ceremonies in […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/margot-robbie-wolf-of-wall-street.jpg
Margot Robbie Finds That Fashion Makes All of the Difference in the Audition Room
Margot Robbie has had quite a year. Her breakout role in Martin Scorcese’s The Wolf of Wall Street last year was the film that put her on the map. However, her audition for the role of Naomi was almost a bust. The Australian actress came dressed in boots and jeans, much to the dismay of […]