I woke up this morning thinking of Emilie. Specifically I was thinking of a particular photo I’d seen recently on Facebook, a picture of her after a week of backpacking, slightly sunburned, windblown hair like a lioness, a big smile on her face, mountains in the background. There’s a rawness to the photo, a real-ness, almost like the photo is doing that magic thing of serving up that person at her most elemental, when her insides are showing on the outside. It’s glorious.
I thought about Emilie and how she has made this new and different life for herself. Not that different from who she is, but different from how she was. Let’s be clear: she always was a bad-ass. But then a few years ago, she bought a women’s adventure company and changed everything. Became self-employed. Moved to Oregon.
I thought of Emilie and felt inspired. Inspired by her choices, inspired by her life now. Inspired.
I jumped out of bed and started writing.
I'm definitely with Maugham on this one: good habits, consistent practice, are the key to making inspiration your bitch. If your writing muscle, music-composing muscle, sewing muscle, whatever-your-Thing-is muscle, benefits from regular daily training, then you make your own inspiration every single time you sit down to it. You OWN inspiration.
But there's something else, too. Something maybe Maugham missed out on, just for timing reasons.
I'm sure you've heard this quote:
In my opinion, you don't have to know those five people IRL -- in real life. They can be five people (or 10) that you surround yourself with virtually, via the interwebs or print or sound or other medium.
Whether they're real or they're virtual, what's critical is to surround yourself with people who inspire you, people who make the wheels in your mind turn faster, make your heart skip a beat or two. Make it your mission to seek out activities, sights, people, creatures that fire you up. This is not a rationalization for trolling the internet when you should be working, but it is a Yes vote for following people doing great work that you admire. Or tagging friends in photos of baby goats on Instagram if you think it will make them jump around.
Make it your mission to share what inspires you, so that you are, in turn, inspiring others.
Sure, inspiration can just sometimes drop out of nowhere and land on unsuspecting you. In which rare case you better know what to do: you better be prepared. That's where daily training comes in handy. When the opportunity presents itself, you know what to do.
And ALSO, you can manufacture inspiration on the regular by surrounding yourself with people, like Emilie, who light you up. You can OWN inspiration every day of the week. Don't wait: go get some.