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Uninspired inspiration

Kate Cataldo

As a creative professional, the times are truly uninspiring.

Going into this new year, I was so excited to have a fresh start. Things started off without a hitch, but then everything came to a halt, as we are all well aware.

I didn’t really start feeling the effects of everything until now.

This whole week, I have been dragging around waiting for any ideas to strike. But, that’s the thing, waiting around for inspiration to spark isn’t going to solve any of my problems. The reality is, it’s only making things worse.

Just like any other spark, inspiration also needs a catalyst. And up until now, the catalyst to my creativity has been my photography and design.

It was suddenly unsafe and I was unable to do what I love to do, and that was a hard pill to swallow. It wasn’t until I realized I was feeling really uninspired that I decided to break out all my art supplies. Other than writing, I haven’t done much creating lately.

My creativity is my livelihood – it’s what I eat, breathe and dream about.

And suddenly all of that was gone and it felt weird to think about simply creating something for myself because for years I have been doing it for others.

Clients come to me with any wild and crazy creative ideas they have, and I help them bring the ideas to life – that’s what I do.

But, I don’t think I have created a single piece for myself in years, and that’s just sad.

The last time I came up with a concept and created it just because I wanted to was probably back when I was attending The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – which is no longer a school, by the way.

This thought kind of rattled me. Here I am, making a living off creating and I haven’t created anything for myself in that long? What have I been doing then?

It’s time to really reevaluate my priorities apparently. I should definitely be making more for myself.

I have now been sitting down with my paints and markers a few nights a week to just push the inks around on the paper — transitioning to a new catalyst.

Still using my photography and design, I want to start focusing on concepting more of my own ideas and managing my time better to allow myself to complete more personal projects.

Then hopefully my inspiration will spark and catch fire again. That’s the end goal.

You see, inspiration is like a muscle. You have to work it to build its strength and potential.

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to inspire and be inspired. No way am I saying that it will ever be easy, and most days you won’t want to do the work.

And, to be real with you, the process can be messy, time consuming, and at times it will even seem pointless, but the rewards are so great.

Trust me, as an artist, I am sure it’s less than impressive to see me just paint a bunch of shapes on a page, but it’s part of the process and I’ve learned to trust that process.

So if you are feeling uninspired – work it.

Go for a walk, sign up for music lessons, build a birdhouse, make some jewelry, plan a vacation or fun event (for after social distancing). You don’t have to be an artist to create.

Sometimes by just participating in our favorite hobbies or activities that bring us joy will provide you your spark. Do a bunch of your favorite things, and your inspiration might just catch fire, too.

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