Posted by: Bridgett.
What do you do when you search for a spark of inspiration, and find only cold ashes?
That’s exactly what happened to me this morning as I awoke with thoughts of the next blog post and chapters of novel revisions awaiting me. No sudden burst of light filled my mind. No warm flood of insight, no spontaneous combustion of ideas, just a bunch of dry, grey dust clogging my brain.
Though my fellow writers are likely nodding in empathy right now, this snuffing of inspiration doesn’t just plague wielders of the pen. Musicians, artists, business owners, marketers, parents, people of faith who’ve fallen into a spiritual rut—in short, everyone–will experience a slump in inspiration at some point.
Well then, what do we do about it?
The answers to that may be as varied as the individual flames in a fire, but let’s try to find a few of them together.
For starters, let’s retrace my morning’s battle to reignite the flame.
1. Go to the Source: My first thought was, when a flame goes out, you return to the Source that ignited the fire in the first place. In other words, pray. (and/or read Scripture)
2. Seek trusted counsel/brainstorm: My prayer ended with a strong impulse to text my BFF/brainstorming partner/fellow Scribe, Rebecca. She was, at that moment, listening to a song about inviting God to be the fire inside us, the flame inside our hearts.
Coincidence? I think not.
3. Follow where steps 1 & 2 may lead: I listened to a video of the song, and several ideas came to mind, but none lit a feeling of passion or a compulsion to write inside me. The only thing growing in my mind was frustration.
4. Consult outside sources: A.k.a the internet. It’s amazing how effective doing a keyword search or looking up a word in the dictionary or thesaurus can be for generating ideas. Here’s what I found in this instance…
From dictionary.com: Inspiration: Noun.
1.2.3. Theology.A.4. T
A couple quotes my keyword search unearthed about inspiration:
5. Listen to music: This may seem a repetition of the action I took in step 3, but it deserves it’s own item number. Music can be a powerful source of inspiration. Think of how you feel after a rousing song of triumph or a beautiful worship ballad. Music can stir us to action, bring tears to our eyes, or make us aware that we are not alone in sadness. It can set the perfect mood for writing a particular scene or remind a father that he was just like his frustrating child once.
To get you started, here’s a clip of the song Rebecca recommended: “You Won’t Relent” by Jesus Culture
6. Repeat step 1.
Well, you may be asking, did all this work? After taking the six steps above, was I inspired?
This blog post is evidence of it. Perhaps it didn’t take the form of a roaring bonfire, but the spark was ignited. Besides giving me the six steps outlined here, this search for inspiration showed me something I hadn’t considered.
The fire God ignites inside us—whether that’s a creative idea, a new direction in business, passion that leads us to discover our calling, a renewal of faith, a zeal to help others, etc.—that flame cannot illuminate the path or warm the heart until it burns away anything that may be blocking its light. If a hearth is too full of ash, the spark will be snuffed out before it can catch.
Something to think about as we all seek inspiration.
Your turn to Shed Your Light below…
How do you reignite inspiration in your life?
About the author:
Bridgett Powers has defied the limitations of impaired vision and overcome a 21-year battle against chronic pain, all of which taught her a profound truth. God shines brightest through cracked lanterns.
Now, she shares that truth through her fantasy novels, picture book, and short stories. A member of ACFW and MyBookTherapy, she also serves as co-leader and writing coach for her writer’s group, operates a proofreading and editing service, and teaches writing workshops.