Recently many people ask me where do I get my inspiration from. The question more than reasonable, as these days I mostly write fiction, and I focus on regular creative writing exercises that serve me best. Few years ago I would have given a very elaborate answer to that: I would be talking about all thoughts that come to me as I pass the streets, looking at all buildings, blue sky, how strangers on the train evoke me a story. This time the answer is way easier: inspiration comes to me, like to most people in the world, in silence. Preferably in calm, slow paced environment of my own bed alongside the feeling that there is nothing in this world that I have to do right now.
There are few things that can enhance your inspiration. Such as a stable dayjob, that you do not hate, a peace of mind and the lack of internet. There is probably no need to explain the blessing influence of the first two, so I would like to focus on the latter. You see, Internet makes me socially aware. And as I am naturally socially awkward, the access to the window to the world makes me feel totally exposed. One click on Google icon and I am no longer alone.
I guess there is more people around for whom the constant connection to the Internet is a source of social anxiety. Dont’ get me wrong- it’s not only social media. It’s the feeling of being constantly connected, available, exposed to any information that might pass through the digital channel; it’s the feeling like someone was creeping behind your back, watching your every move.
And so to speak, social anxiety is a number one enemy of the inspiration of any kind. Most writers admit that they are at their best in their own bed, not so say desk (if you live in London, you know that a decent desk is a luxury one shall not be dreaming about). Straying from the theme of writers’ inspiration: the inspiration of any kind. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, let’s focus on example of thinking activity. Every person thinks. Now connect all of your devices to the Internet and try to think. The shadows of your family and friends will be creeping out from every direction, and all those information you were searching for seven years ago with no purpose at all now becomes available. Is your thought still roaming freely? Expand this image- now picture yourself, with all your connected devices in a busy coffee shop where you’re endangered to meet all your neighbours. Someone in the queue looks like your former colleague you failed to contact over the past few months. Your email inbox lies wide open before you, ecouraging you to insure a car that you don’t have and sign a petition on something you have no idea about, while the radio bombards you with the recent weather podcast. Now let me ask you once again: what is your inspiration?
The need of being alone with our own thoughts is a vital part of any creative process. From the point of view of your poor, supressed individuality any human contact, whether direct or indirect, is an unnecessary distraction. It’s creativity that prevents us from becoming a part of a herd. The feeling of social anxiety reminds us that a human is, first of all, an individual. We believe we ought to fight it in the society that pressures us to be a part of a larger body, appealing to our need of belonging. Maybe nowadays one needs to ask themselves, if feeling socially anxious is not a cry of some inner self, the call for individual development. Afterall, we are all imprisoned inside our minds, and we only ourselves we possess truly. And maybe that’s why the real inspiration can only come from within. If we dare to listen to it.