One of my pet peeves from student designers is “I didn’t do my assignment because I wasn’t inspired, and you have to be inspired to design.”
I remind them that if they want to make this their profession they either have to be able to design when not inspired, or inspire themselves. (The muse only really comes to those who hunt her down and capture her themselves). That said, I do not poo-poo the value of inspiration. One of the things I have discovered in my life is that, in this world there are inspirational places. Places where you sit down, and the karma, or feng-shui or whatever magically align all your creative juices.
There was a particular tree I used to sit under during my undergrad years, and under that tree for the first time Shakespeare made sense and for the first time I could sketch design ideas for hours. (They still looked like random squiggles, but they were very meaningful squiggles to me). By the time I got to grad school I could usually inspire myself without external aids. (If you read the previous “Blast from the Past” the fear of Ritchie was very inspirational.)
Since my dearest husband completed his design for the back yard, I have found a spot out there that inspires me. Oddly enough, it currently only seems to work from about sunset until eight or so in the morning. After that the Fresno heat saps the inspiring characteristics from the spot.
I began to wonder what this, and that marvelous tree in front of the library at USC have in common. They are outside. They both have a bit of a breeze. And although both near high traffic areas, provide one with a sense of solitude. This feeling eases my emotions. For me, once my emotions are level, and I am calm, the ideas flow freely.
Will this location work for everyone … or even anyone else? Probably not. I know designers who have to be stressed out for the muse to awaken. I know designers who can’t work unless they have a #2 American Naturals pencil in their hand. It doesn’t matter what it is. If you are a creative person, you need to find that moment, location, smell. and/or action that frees your mind from everything else and focuses it on the work. If a designer was successful at acting class (I wasn’t) and mastered emotional recall (I could barely comprehend it, much less do it), so much the better — you have your creative spot with you where ever you go. If you are like me and don’t have the ability to conjure it anywhere, study it, learn about it, figure out what the key ingredients are. Then when you need it, you can find it — or a pretty good substitue, and once you have that, you can be inspired when ever you need to.