What To Do When Inspiration Doesn’t Show Up

By Patrick McNerthney 

One of the most unique relationships in the world is that of writing to architecture and engineering. When I’m at, let’s say a swanky party or a five star restaurant or maybe an upscale craft beer emporium, and people ask me what it’s like to be a writer … ahem … okay, back to earth… 

When I meet someone for the first time at the post office or maybe waiting for takeout at Panera, and instantly start blathering on and on about the most important person in the room (which would be, who?), right when they start desperately glancing around for an escape route and/or a fire alarm to pull, I’m usually blurting, “Writingismoreakintoengineeringorarchitecturethanpeoplethink, waitdon’tgoooooooooooo…” 

Which is loosely translated: “Writing is more akin to engineering or architecture than people think, wait; don’t gooooooooooooo!” 

At which point they still leave but I don’t care as there are many other victims stuck at this mediocre if not somewhat uninspired gathering whom I can accost.

(But I’m great at dinner parties I swear. Very quiet. Invite me and I’ll prove it!)

The shorter version is this: it’s not uncommon for someone to think writers sit down and write for eight hours and then go home. That the inspiration is always just there, so all any writer has to do is sober up, adjust his cardigan, let his reading glasses slip to the tip of the nose, and start typing.

But (like most jobs, including yours as a caregiver), writing is much more complex. One has to identify the outcome the words are intent on producing, then reverse engineer his way into the reader’s heart. Which is exactly what engineers, software developers, architects, and tons of other professionals do. They start with the outcome, create a backwards map from the outcome back to the beginning, and only THEN do they start “typing.” 

Oh, and here’s the kicker—all the while, they’re hoping inspiration comes to pay a visit. That’s right. As the author (and then some) James Clear states, “You have to show up before inspiration will.”

(Dang, that’s a good one too, why can’t I think of these?)

 So what’s the hardest part of writing (or engineering, software development, architecture … did I say caregiving)?  Having the guts to show up. Because the truth is, sometimes inspiration has a prior commitment. 

 Over to you. Undoubtedly you consistently show up for the elderly, children with challenges, or anyone needing help with life’s daily tasks. Especially when you don’t feel like it (which is not as rare as you wish!). Subsequently, inspiration probably pays you a visit quite often (even if you didn’t know it!). But for those times when you’re feeling less than inspired, Fine Art Miracles (FAM) can help. 

 FAM champions creative expression as the perfect tool to remedy the ravages of social isolation: anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and fear. That’s because the act of simply making reconnects your residents and loved ones with joy, hope, confidence, self-worth, and the belief they MATTER to both their own local community and the outside world. Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance & Movement Therapy, Art 2 Go Packages (this month is Charley Harper, Birds Re-Released!) and the rest of FAM’s programs (there’s a lot!) literally bring INSPIRATION to both those you seek to care for—so they continue to SHOW UP to enjoy their own lives—and YOU…for those days when the inspiration fairy is too busy to pay you a visit. 

 That’s right, FAM’s programs are a form of reverse engineering of their own—pretty slick right? So what are you waiting for? Give FAM a call or drop them a note, they’re more than happy to explain everything in more detail and get you started. 

 As for me, I have no parties to go to as I seem to have developed quite the reputation as a “boorish, self-centered snob.” How can that be? I have cool t-shirts and everything! Oh wait, that’s a great idea, next party I go to (I didn’t say crash!) I won’t pontificate on writing! In fact, I won’t talk at all–I’ll just show off my awesome duds. Trust me, everyone will be enthralled!



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