If you’re blogging, you’ll know this already: keeping readers interested is like a sustained burlesque striptease.
Reveal a bit, hide behind a fan. Reveal some more, shimmy!
I’m an ex-dancer (not like an ex-parrot though), but I was never any good at the sustained, long leadup. What you see is what you get here. (And I never did striptease, anyway.)
I’ve been ill, along with my whole family, and my whole community, which meant that help was thin on the ground. It was a continuous, long-term flu that kept us shivering and shaking with fever, and groaning with the aches in our bones. I took a break to lie in bed wishing I could die.
And my husband and I bemoaned that it seemed to be an IQ flu. We felt hampered in our minds, as though all our intelligence had run down our collective legs and into our socks. This is not a fun thing to think when you rely on your mind for your work. I began to worry I was permanently impaired, because I just couldn’t get my brain into gear. (Not prone to disaster thinking OR drama in any way over here…)
And it got me thinking: how does inspiration happen?
More specifically, how does inspiration happen for me?
Why did I feel like I had inspiration before I got sick, and why has it taken so long to come back? (Perhaps the IQ flu only has anecdotal evidence for it right now, but will soon be a recognised phenomenon I’m sure.)
What was I doing before that I’m not now? (Exercise, social interaction) What do I need to do to get it back? (Um, exercise and social interaction?)
All these questions are well and good, but to be really useful, I need to give you an idea of how to chart your own inspiration and replicate it. Read on, and see if it rings true for you:
Firstly, remember a time you were inspired, and try to remember what you were doing in the lead up to being inspired – especially, what were you eating, doing habitually, and who were you hanging out with? Try to remember how you felt in your body when you were inspired: I get energy running up the back of my neck, and the words fall out of my fingertips onto the keyboard as though they are writing themselves. How does YOUR body feel when you’re inspired?
If you can remember certain things you do that lead to you feeling inspired, can you remember whether you always feel inspired after doing these things? If yes, then write them down, quick! Under the heading of ‘How I Become Inspired’ will do.
Now, replicate it. Do the same things, and see if you get the same effect.
I suspect that it’s like body language: if you’re feeling down, then straightening up your shoulders, standing tall, uncrossing your arms and smiling will usually lift your mood pretty quickly. You fool your body into feeling different – and then you magically do. Inspiration is the same. With a little observation, and a bit of tweaking, I’m sure you can create the correct environment or chain of events that leave you feeling inspired.
And like burlesque, inspiration might just take a little teasing, a little tweaking. You might have to ease into it, and give yourself a little shake.
Try it, and let me know how you go. I’ll be over here trying to recover my IQ.