Robin Heinen @RobinHeinen1986: How do you get NEW inspiratioon for your blog? I try to bleed on http://robinheinen.blogspot.com , but some days, inspiration is gone…
In June 2002 I was very depressed. I had no money. I couldn’t sell the apartment I was trying to sell. It was only a few blocks from Ground Zero in NYC and the playground my kids would play in was still covered with asbestos and the whole area smelled. I think there might even have been flames still burning on the actual spot. It was depressing to live there. I’d stand outside the fence as close as you can go and just look at the worst mechanical mess of pipes, buildings, trash, and men in hard hats doing…something, i don’t even know, and I’d stand there and I wouldn’t know what to do. i was going to die because I had no money, no job, I couldn’t sell my apartment, nobody would return my calls, I had a new three month old, I was incapable of having sex at all I was so depressed, every company I had ever been involved in hated me or turned me away. I was just a mess.
I started going out for coffee every morning. I couldn’t stand being home. The home that I was going to lose. The home with the screaming kids. The home that shook when the towers fell and my oldest child peed on the floor. The home that was covered with black dust just as the shaking began and the lights turned out and people were screaming and voices that will never be heard again could be heard if not seen.
I would bring one fiction book, one non-fiction book, one book about games, one book about finance, and one notepad. And I would read a bit of each. Then I would come up with ideas for each. Ideas for fiction. Ideas for non-fiction. Ideas for businesses. ideas for people I wanted to talk to. Ideas for trading systems I wanted to try.
It was only when I started writing ideas down every day that I stopped checking my bank account every day. That I stopped shaking every day that I was also going ot collapse into the ground, nothing but dust and smell left to remind the world that I once existed, to remind daughters who would never remember me that I once meant something to the world.
I practiced having ideas. I exercised my idea muscle. I would make my brain sweat. Once I had an idea for a book: How to Win At Every Game in the World. And I would give easy ideas for winning every game. For instance, in Scrabble: if you know that XI, XU, QI, ZA, QAT are legal words then you are going to beat everyone who has a great vocabulary but doesn’t know those are legal words. I came up with 5 games, then 10. Then, make the brain sweat, 20 games. How to win everytime at hearts, at Monopoly (get the Orange real estate), at chess, at checkers, at backgammon, and so on. Could I think of 30? Every idea I had, I tried to make my brain sweat until it hurt.
So that’s number one. It’s not inspiration. it’s the cliched version of inspiration – perspiration. I sweated. (Women perspire, men sweat).
Number two, your body is filled with veins. The boys who made fun of you in the playground. Your fear of the first day on the job. The time you failed and were afraid to tell your parents. The time you got a lower score on the SATs and lied about it to your friends. Your first car crash. The first time you had sex (don’t even TELL ME you weren’t impotent). The older you are, the more of these you have. Yesterday, my youngest daughter refused to participate in a video I was doing with PBS. I was crushed. It was the first time she had ever said “No” to a fun idea I was doing. Have I lost my little baby? Maybe this will be a vein I bleed. The other day Claudia found what looked like lipstick on a towel. Did she think I was cheating? I’m scared to death of her somehow not trusting me. Every day if there isn’t an artery you can cut and burst out your blood, there’s at least a vein, a capillary, a tear which can drop onto the page and tell your story.
Don’t worry about how you will have inspiration every day. Build the idea muscle. And cry. The world is a horrible place and the tears never end.