Thoughts on inspiration

April 03, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Morning light in Florence, ITLight from my dining room early in the morning in Florence Italy.

Hello my friends,

What day is it? Where is my coffee? Is the spider on the ceiling starting to talk in foreign tongues to me?

I have tried to start entry number two in what I have decided to call the "Captain's log" here on my page instead of "blog" for over 48 hours. I found that every time I started, I stopped. Why? Because sometimes if you force something, you procrastinate, and you procrastinate hard -- at least that is the way that things go for me.

A close friend suggested today to not treat this as a "blog", but more as an account of thoughts and feelings. I dig it! I have never been one to really do things traditionally anyways, so these entries will simply come organically. I hope that I do not scare too many people away by sharing what is in my head. haha

Today, I am thinking about inspiration. Inspiration is a tricky word. So many often seem to feel that inspiration is needed to do or accomplish certain tasks, particularly in the creative fields. To a certain degree, yes, I agree that "inspiration" is needed. However, if we sit around and wait for inspiration to happen, we are never going to get anything accomplished.

For me, it is not something that just magically strikes like lightning. I have to actively seek my inspiration as if I were hunting for food to survive. Inspiration is also something that I consider as food for the soul as another way that I personally look at it.

I want to share some different ways that I approach seeking inspiration. Perhaps these will help any that discover my "Captain's log" entries now or in future to motivate to create a method that works for you.

The first thing that I go to when I seek inspiration is what I know. I think personally that a lot of people are too quick to say they are bored, or that they are uninspired. When it boils down to it, those words simply translate to laziness or apathy. I have been there my friends! I know the dance very well. So how does one overcome it?

I prefer to keep memories in different forms as my first line of offense in seeking inspiration. These could be as simple as riffing off of an idea in my mind, they could be visual cues, they could be audible, they could be tactile, and smell or taste have their place also in their own right depending on what kind of task that you are attempting to achieve. Essentially, we are talking about the 5 senses of human beings here.

In my last entry, I was mentioning that I have been reading Robert Genn - Twice Weekly Letters (click the link to get a copy on Amazon and support me please). It is a start for the senses to me. I used to love to read growing up, so books get my mind racing with possibility. Robert's letters are also absolutely wonderful and insightful! He wrote the collection that turned into the book over the course of ten years as a gift to inspire painters around the globe. They apply to daily life, art, and any form of creation really.

If you do not enjoy reading, another way that I start to seek inspiration is to sit and meditate. If you have never mediated before, I would suggest to try to work in at least two 20 minute periods through out your day. When the mind is constantly on the go, sometimes I find myself feeling drained and needing to recharge. Meditating helps me to clear my head, and to understand what the important things in life really are.

I recently signed up for a course on Udemy by Michael Bijker to refresh on how to meditate called "Complete meditation and mind training course". Some folks might not believe that meditation can help, but for me, I discovered that it forms discipline, routine, relaxation, and helps me to understand the daily obstacle course of my thoughts at any given time when I start to feel overwhelmed. I really enjoy Michael's Temples music also (click the link to get on Amazon or stream and support me also). It is the most chill thing to put on after a stressful day especially in the times that we are living in right now.

Sometimes after a meditation session (or otherwise), I will resort to free writing in my sketchbook also. I prefer the tactile response of paper and pen to the digital counterpart. That, and my sketchbooks are often times my main spot of keeping my ideas for future creation in any medium. I can write, draw, clip/tape, destroy, paint, or simply flip through for ideas at any point. I have an entire shelf of sketchbooks in my studio that I have kept for almost ten years now. My favorites are either Moleskine 5.5 x 8.25 or Shinola 5.25 x 8.25 (fun fact, also made in Detroit). I prefer the smaller sizes because I can easily slip them into a jacket pocket, or a pouch of my Think Tank Streetwalker Harddrive backpack (note: this backpack is very comfortable, and is TSA approved for carry on when we can all fly again. I never check any of my personal gear when traveling).

Family and friends are also wonderful sources of inspiration! My friend Romy is to thank for the inspirational words of wisdom that led me to this very blog post today (Thank you Romy!). I can't count how many times just giving someone a call, or reaching out in some way has inspired me. Remember especially in these crazy times that we are living through right now to reach out to family and friends. It does not matter if we have grievances or differences with people that we care about. I would suggest to set aside differences and make the time to tell everyone that you care about that you love them and care about them. Even before covid-19, there are many lessons on how short that life really is. It is better in my opinion to forgive, love, and be open, than to regret, hold grudges, or bottle things up. I have been one to hold things in for long periods of time myself, and it never works out well.

One last source of inspiration that I will put out here for now to share is that if you live anywhere that you are able to take a walk right now and practice social distancing, sometimes just a small adventure can be a win to queue up new inspirations. In the past, I have always thought that if I went to some far off foreign land that it would "inspire" me. That is not always the case sadly. Wanderlust is wonderful as is cultural exchanges and experiences as a human and/or artist, but it is not always going to create something that inspires you or leaves meaningful impact.

My friend @davidalanharvey (go follow him everywhere!) says it best that when he makes photographs, the story has taken him wherever he has ended up in his work. Most of the time David shoots work that is of places, or non-famous people, he does not shoot models or fashion, or any of the shiny things that often attract beginner photographers for the wrong reasons. He shoots things that he is passionate about, and that he believes in. This is a lesson that I personally learned in many ways, but did not make sense until David's words of wisdom. He said that most of the best artists in the entire course of history no matter in photography or not have created work close to home, and closest to what they know and are passionate about. I would encourage you all to find what it is that sets YOUR soul on fire! Who are YOU really? Why are you letting popular culture or other temporary things influence who you really are as an individual? Status comes and goes, but work that you believe in and that continues to inspire you is the most valuable form of currency that I could ever think of or share advice about.

What inspires you?

Join me tonight 4/3/20 @charlienaebeck on Instagram at 8pm EST as I host an open discussion about ways to keep inspiration as a photographer and artist.

Thank you for stopping by my Captain's logs, and if you would like more inspiration, I am live on IG every day at 8pm EST sharing new mini photography workshops in many different styles and ways. I also have a Youtube  packed full of free photography tips and tricks. If you enjoy what I do, and would like to help support me to create more content, you can donate to support my streams, or book online affordable private photography lessons here . You can also support by visiting my @79punks merch shop where I design a lot of awesome shirts, hoodies, stickers, mugs, and more to raise support for mental health awareness.


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