Monday, August 23, 2010

Inspiration is a personal thing

When you are inspired by an exciting new idea, don't be surprised if other people don't get it. You might explain your new idea in detail to your family and friends, and feel puzzled and disappointed that they don't share your enthusiasm. At best, they might humor you or offer a general expression of support.

The fact is, they don't see what you see. Inspiration is a vision of a possibility, and it's rare when you can explain the possibility to others and get them to share your excitement.

Artists are generally advised to keep the details of their exciting inspirations private, at least during the early stages of a project. It's discouraging enough that people won't understand what you find so exciting about an idea. But there are some people who will actively try to undermine your self-confidence and convince you to give up on your idea and abandon your project. These might be people who resent the amount of time that you devote to your creative life, or people who envy the level of vitality and enthusiasm that your artistic pursuits bring you.

In particular, people who once were artists themselves, and who had their personal dreams crushed, will feel an urge to crush your enthusiasms in turn.

Don't give them the chance to pour cold water on your ideas. Keep your inspirations private, or share them only with people that you know you can trust.

When your idea is fully formed, then you can go ahead and show it to other people to get their reaction. Then, people will have a chance to see what you saw — because you can actually show it to them. They still could love it or hate it, but at least they'll be reacting to your creation, not reacting to their preconceptions of you as an artist.

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