Ryan designs and builds furniture, and I’m a writer. Both professions require creativity and inspiration, but inspiration isn’t a light switch that you can just turn on and off.
This last week I’ve been watching Ryan struggle over furniture designs. Anytime he’s working on a particular design concept he carries paper with him most of the day. Even in the evening while he’s reading or watching television his pencil and paper is at the ready should inspiration strike.
I’ve written in the past about the things that inspire Ryan’s furniture - history, castles, art and such. I’ve also written about Ryan’s design process. But inspiration is a fickle thing. It can hit you when you least expected it or it can refuse to show up when you need it the most.
Writing is similar. Some days it’s difficult to write a coherent sentence, while other days I feel like Shakespeare. Well, maybe not Shakespeare, but you get the idea.
The problem with being in a creative business is that if we just sat around waiting for inspiration to strike us, we’d starve to death, not to mention the bank would kick us out of our house for not paying mortgage. In a very short amount of time we’d end up homeless.
Those of us working daily in a creative business, whether it’s furniture design, writing or graphic design, have to be creative on a daily basis and thankfully, creativity is something that comes a bit easier with practice. When the light bulb of inspiration refuses to turn on, and let’s face it, sometimes it just refuses – the creative part of our brain has to take over. And thankfully that part of our brain is big and muscular.
When inspiration refuses to show up, we must tap into that creative part of our brain and keep chugging onward.
It’s okay if you don’t feel inspired every day. I certainly don’t, but imagine never tapping into the creative part of your brain – that would be a lot worse. At least we get to tap in every day, even if sometimes it feels like a real chore.
Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer is the co-owner of Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture. She is also a full-time freelance writer and founder of HeidiTown.com.