I think one of the hardest parts of this process is to be inspired. That’s not to say that I don’t know that inspirational things and people are all around me all the time. They are 1000%. But getting out of my head and letting my mind explore ideas is not something that comes easily. As someone who likes order, has a hair of anxiety, spends all day at work writing contracts that are scrutinized under a fine tooth comb, and who operates in a general sensory overload - It can be hard to let that go. Like some of y'all may know, any moment of silence is an opportunity for my brain to over analyze the thoughts of the day or in general just focus on irrelevant things.
In order for me to let my mind wander and create things, I have to literally zone out. But not too deliberately or I’ll start the mundane conversations in my head. A kind of middle ground, if you will. For the most part in life, music has gotten me there. All kinds of music. My dad gave me the gift of appreciation for just about every kind of genre there is. From Otis Redding to Fleetwood Mac to Dr. Dre - I’m all over the place.
As Rick Rubin would say - I was collecting seeds all those years. And if you’ve ever got time, read his book called The Creative Act. It’s amazing. A little hippie dippie here and there - but the concepts are solid. Rick says that the goal is to open your attention to the world, letting inspiration and the world around you collect seeds that you can plant later on. The job is not to judge the initial ideas or think to much about them, but just collect them:
“In the first phase of the creative process, we are to be completely open, collecting anything we find of interest. We can call this the Seed phase. We're searching for potential starting points that can grow into something beautiful. At this stage… we simply gather them. Collecting seeds is best approached with active awareness and boundless curiosity. It cannot be muscled, though perhaps it can be willed. Often the most accurate signposts are emotional, not intellectual. Excitement tends to be the best barometer for selecting which seeds to focus on. When something interesting starts to come together, it arouses delight. It's an energising feeling of wanting more. A feeling of leaning forward. Follow that energy.”
So, I allowed my mind to drift anywhere and everywhere. With music and in silence. In front of a computer and staring at the pavement while walking. Observing anything and everything I could. Adding to my running list of seeds (A literal bulleted list of things). Staring at what was in front of me - seeing the repetition of patterns like sidewalk cracks, or posts on a fence, or bushes in a row took me out of my head. Just enough to lose the conversation, but not interesting enough to start a conversation about these mundane observations. This was creative work. And all of these ideas - ones that came from music or boredom, good ideas that came from bad ideas, and ideas that came from fear (But more often confidence) are what I can’t wait to show you in my art. There’s a lot of rambling now that I’m re-reading this, but the takeaway is that it’s always different for each person to figure out how to get those creative juices flowing.