Inspiration Vs. Intimidation

Happy October!

Thanks for all the well wishes.  It's great to be back at YAMuses after a brief medical leave.  I'm hard at work finishing up edits on SENSATIONAL, back to school at the university, and on the road to full recovery after thyroid surgery.  All the awesome posts on "inspiration" had me thinking and, even though this week is officially an open topic, I wanted to respond.

I believe there is a fine line between inspiration and intimidation.

Inspiration pushes the envelope.  It challenges in a new and different way that makes you want to try.  It opens up the possibilities in ways that seem approachable.

Intimidation is something quite different.  It shuts down the creative process and freezes all forward motion.

And yet, sometimes, they are so close.

Cheers to the return of Fall
Take the gym for example.  When I work out in a big, busy gym, I'm sure everyone is making fun of the fat woman over on the  Rationally, I know it's in my own head (and even wrote a book about this called SKINNY), but I view the world of the gym through my own lived experiences, and there is nothing in the gym that inspires me to be healthier.  It's completely intimidating.

It took me awhile, but I finally learned it's the physical activity that inspires me not the gym. So, I don't go to the "gym" anymore.  Instead I work out regularly with a personal trainer who pushes me to be healthier in a little, one room studio. It works for me.

Intimidation, just like inspiration, is unique to the individual.

It seems especially true when it comes to the writing life. There was a writer event I attended with a close writing friend.  We saw the same speakers and did most of the same things.  It was basically the same experience, but for me it was completely inspirational. For her, it was intimidating and stopped her creative process for weeks afterwards.

My friend doesn't attend that event anymore.

And, you know what? It's okay.  For her.

I believe there are times we need to listen to the voice that tells us NOT to do what we're dreading.  The thing that (for whatever weird reason that is totally inside our own brain) is completely stopping us from creating.

Don't go to that event.

Don't send your manuscript to that particular critique partner.

Unfollow that person on Twitter.

Don't worry.  It can change.  What's completely intimidating at one point in the writing journey, can become the biggest inspiration around the next corner.  But, for now, it's okay to give yourself permission to say no to the people and things that intimidate you.  Even if, especially if, the perception is in your own mind. After all, it is from our heads that stories take shape, so nurturing and protecting that creative mind is critical.

What do you think?  Is there a fine line in your life between inspiration and intimidation?  Does intimidation stop you from writing?  How do you push through?

The view on my run toward home.


Oooh I loved this, Donna. Writing/inspiration isn't a one size fits all kind of thing. I'm taking this as a sign--I'm going to make more of an effort to protect my process.

Both inspiration and intimidation visit my brain regularly. As long as the inspiration gets to be heard, I can deal with the intimidation. And you're so spot on about listening carefully to what that intimidation has to say in order to take care of our creativity. Great post, Donna. So glad you're feeling well.

Loved this post, Donna. Very, very true. I stopped sending my manuscripts to a particular person for critique because of bossy, overbearing crits that just made me mad or discouraged. We have to protect not only our work, but *ourselves*! Welcome back!

Intimidation has definitely caused my process to freeze up – On many, many occasions. It's so true, we need to protect our process. I should do this more often. And I LOVE that photo of you! I want to have a glass of vino with you! It's great to have you back posting your insights :)

So glad to have you back, Donna! And with a post that's stuck with me this morning - I read it much earlier and have been thinking about it ever since. So often I tell myself I'm a big girl & I can suck it up, when maybe I should be a little kinder to myself & respect that that part of me is trying to say something important.

Thank you for this post, Donna, and for the "permission" to not do the things that seem intimidating--for whatever reason. Sometimes I do give myself permission--and other times I try to force myself to do that intimidating thing or go to that intimidating event, because I "should." The "shoulds" like intimidation squash my creativity instead of setting it free. It's when I give myself permission to do and experience those things that inspire rather than intimidate me that the writing flows and grows. Thanks again for this!

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