Jason Fried from 37signals talks about sustaining inspiration in this speech at around the 19:40 mark.
He suggests that inspiration is perishable. He contrasts the lifespan between the actual idea and the inspiration for the idea. The idea lasts forever but the inspiration can go away.
He likens inspiration to a perishable good like milk or fruit. Like these goods, inspiration has an expiration date and it doesn’t stay fresh very long.
He advises that if you’re inspired about something, if you motivated to do something, you need to take action as soon as possible. If you wait to do it later, you won’t be as motivated. Every day you don’t take action, your inspiration starts to rot and go away.
Also, you’ll have the most creative energy during that initial spark of inspiration.
Blogging and Inspiration
In blogging, I’ve found Jason’s theory to be true. I have many ideas for blog posts that I came up with in the past. At the time of idea conception, I was excited about the ideas. However, a couple weeks went by and I still hadn’t turned those ideas into blog posts. Now when I think of the ideas, I’m not excited about them and I wonder what ever happened to my inspiration.
On the other hand, if I come up with a good idea and then work on the post right away, writing is much easier and I have a good amount of creative energy and motivation to complete the post. This is why it’s a good idea to read only when you have time to act on it.
You’ll be more productive and your content will be better quality if you’re inspired and motivated rather than trying to “force out” a post after the inspiration has gone away.
Over to You
How do you sustain inspiration? Have you ever experienced “rotting inspiration”?
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Good advice in your post, especially about taking action as soon as possible after getting an idea. I’ve lost many ideas that faded when I didn’t take action right away, even to jot it down. It also helps to blog about the topics that you are especially passionate about. It’s very hard to blog on things that you are not that crazy about. Generating ideas early in the morning helps for me too when my mind is fresh.
Inspiration in blogging is definitely important. Regular blog updating is crucial to success and without proper motivation can be a daunting task. Inspiration sometimes needs a little help. We all get writer’s block, but if you plan ahead, you won’t have to be stressed by it. Maybe today just isn’t a good day to write a blog post. You have a backlog, you have a well of ideas; maybe today you should just take a walk or do something fun instead. Ideas for your next post will come, and when you are ready to put them into text, you will. Keep that blog active, and your visitors will return.
I get my inspiration from everyday events in my life. And yes from time to time I get in a rut or feel like I am blogging with no depth. Then I just take some time off until I am feeling better. Great article maybe more productive to use your methods!!
I agree with you completely here, I often have good ideas, not just for blogging but for other internet based activities and write them down to do later but then never get round to it! So this year one of my resolutions is to do things when I think of them. Great blog.
I always experience “rotting inspiration” as I write! It’s part of the creative experience of organizing all my wild impressions of what I’m writing about. Sticking to topic is difficult for me unless there’s already a catalogue of experiences in my mind about what I’m writing.
The trick must be to keep the sparks flying. As a songwriter I’ve had to learn not to be discouraged when something “really good” starts to slip away and I can’t get it back. Writing short blog posts, or in fact blog commenting, is similar to my songwriting experiences.
Any songwriters here who can add to that?
Yes, I have faced this inspiration rot very often and I have got some handy solutions to overcome this probelm. First I did a deep self analysis that when and how ideas spring into my mind, once I found out that I get most of my ideas while I am on my PC reading something, I have started making use of simple Note Taking utilities and as soon as I have an idea, I quickly create a rough outline of what I have in mind, this helps me in writing at a later time, when my inspiration is somewhat less, but due to my outline, I feel very easy to complete my task.
As a matter of fact, while writing this reply I just outlined my future blog post about avoiding inspiration rot. 😉
Thanks for your inspirative post !
This really got me thinking… “The idea lasts forever but the inspiration can go away”
That’s why I’m using my mobile phone to record audio notes for blog posting ideas., and it does wonders.
Did you try it too Dee?
Interestingly enough, art keeps me inspired. I can check out architecture, traditional art, graphic design, and even just nature. These things inspire me to create, and blogging is just one of the ways that I express myself.
The serious problem came from the topics. The first time we created post just need a hour and publish everyday. But when it was over 100 post sometime we lost the inspiration and I believe we will think twice to publish everyday. Many writer creating their topics 2-3 a week (webs has more 100 posts), are they lost the inspiration? Is it will reduce their readers?
I do agree with the idea that inspiration rots like milk. It is important to act right away when an idea comes to our minds. This happened to me a lot of times and I learned from it. Basically, writing is very easy. You, sit and write what comes to your mind. Its the thinking that’s hard. And mind you, thinking is driven by inspiration.
This is really true. I’ve experienced it, it is really wise to put your idea into writing right away rather than procrastinating. It’s the mood and the timing.
Agreed! If I don’t act on it immediately after inspiration – it’s somehow forced. Sustaining inspiration requires being in the right frame of mind which, for me, always means I can’t be working at responding to posts when I’m rushed for work or expected to be somewhere on time.
Unfortunately I’m still not in a position to set aside the time I’d like to spend responding to posts. Inspiration is certainly perishable for me!
I have literally stopped my car and got on my laptop when I got an idea for a blog post. It is the BEST time to type away because I’m fresh, motivated and ready to write. If I had waited til later I would not have had the most creative post, and it would have felt like more work.
I completely agree and have found that when I take action on my inspirational thoughts, I often get more of them. It’s almost as if the universe is saying “hey this guy isn’t using his inspiration so why give him more?”. I’m a huge proponent of taking action, all the time.
I also find this idea to be true. I have and am still experiencing it. It is always best to work on an inspiration as soon as possible.