Friday, August 27, 2010

Addicted to inspiration?

Inspiration is a natural high. I like to say that inspiration is "safe and effective if you use it as directed for its intended purpose," as an occasional performance enhancement for creative work. As a drug-like experience, inspiration is naturally self-limiting. It remains unpredictable and beyond your control.

But some people manage to gain some control over their inspiration and use it to get intense highs regularly. Used this way, inspiration is a dangerous drug, and it can lead into a self-destructive spiral.

It's sobering to look at "Are you an addict?" questionnaires and see how many addictive behaviors apply to artists in the throes of their work. A big creative project can knock your life out of balance, and it's good to bring those phases to a close as soon as you can and take the time to re-balance your personal life. Don't go straight from one huge project to the next.

If you find yourself saying "I couldn't live without my creative work," but your "work" occurs only during episodes of intense inspiration, then your creative life is in a very unhealthy state.
The best way to keep it clean: Be committed to your art through the highs and lows, not just through the highs. For example, work on your art (at least a little bit) every day, whether you feel inspired or not.

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