When I studied Creative Writing there were two factions, I soon noticed. On the one hand were the people who claimed that you can only create when you are inspired. Then there was me, who said, and I keep saying, that you can create whenever and that you can call forth inspiration at will.
In my heart I sincerely doubt that the great authors out there only create when they are inspired late at night in front of a glass of whiskey, wearing a hat and smoking a pipe. Right? If that was the case then books would surely take a long time to write.
I’m no expert but I have read somewhere at various occasions that your body has ‘muscle memory’ which means that if you do a certain movement you will feel a certain emotion because your body remembers. If you smile, you will start to feel happier even if the smile is fake, because you use the muscles your body associates with happiness. If you ball up your fists you will feel angrier, because it is an angry response.
I also read in The Body Sacred by Dianne Sylvan that it’s not strange we in the West suffer from a lot of anxiety when we insist on breathing far up in our chests instead of with our belly. You see, the time you breathe high up in your chest is when you are in a state of panic. In other words most of us give the body panic stimuli all the time.
So, what does this have to do with inspiration? Well, considering the body’s ability to remember surely it should be possible to trigger it into experiencing inspiration and creativity. I think so, and have done for years. This means that I can be a very productive writer these days because I decide I am inspired and inspiration usually manifests. Sometimes it doesn’t, that’s true, but no rule without exception.
My theory is that if you surround yourself with certain things while feeling inspired, in the end it should suffice to bring those things forward to call upon inspiration. If you start playing certain music when feeling inspiration, then inspiration should happen when you play that music because it puts you in the right frame of mind. This is a bit like Pavlov’s dogs, really (flattering, I know).
Also it’s important to remember that the brain learns stuff and which responses to send out without us meaning to. For example, if you are constantly giving up on projects before they are finished then your brain will learn you are not a finisher. Once you start finishing tasks it will learn to finish others.
I think it is the same with inspiration. You can teach your brain to feel inspiration when exposed to certain stimuli and then bring that forward when you need it. You will, in essence, be able to teach your brain you are an inspired person.