Cleaning to Foster Inspiration

car washIf you recall Jimmy Stewart in the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” you remember when the angels are talking about George Bailey’s suicide attempt.  Clarence says, “Is he sick?” and the senior angel says,

“Worse, he’s discouraged.”  Clarence Oddbody got his wings but not by giving George inspiration.  He helped him along and George was the one who finally seized it.  I wrote a list a while back on how to foster inspiration, it has some stuff I use.

The other day I was filling out interview questions regarding this blog and one of the questions was: “What do you do to get inspired?” I can’t remember my exact words but I answered how I don’t DO things to be inspired. I wait for it to fly by: then I CAPTURE it. I can’t create inspiration, I can only foster it. In the Allen Ginsberg sense of the word, to me inspiration is HOLY: it comes when it comes and you don’t order it around.

You can be floating on your back in the Bahamas and still feel like #$%^ if your mojo(inspiration) is no-no. I just try and be ready to capture the mojo when it flies by. Pocket mp3 recorders, yellow pads on clipboards, templates on my desktop, my list goes on. If you’d like to continue discussing other ways to “capture” inspiration, let’s start that in the comments. This post is, after all, about cleaning :)

Like any other activity, cleaning is not an automatic source of inspiration. However, if you’re bored and uninspired, I highly recommend it. And when rearranging gets involved it’s a double-whammy! In a phrase: BE the outdoor furniture covers! Cleaning can be especially helpful to writers (including bloggers, novelists and freelance) and artists, but all walks of people benefit.  I once read of a writer who looked at a blank page for weeks when upon opening the cupboard he smelled breadcrumbs that triggered volumes of introspection. If you want to be inspired in the work you do, get ready for inspiration when it comes. If it doesn’t come and you’re bored: you could pick a cleaning job large or small and just do it. Wouldn’t it be a great thing if simple cleaning job like buffing out your wife’s car (the topic of my current guest post at It Might be Love) could keep you off the therapist’s couch.  Folks, in my 39 years almost without fail, inspiration has always followed through cleaning. And hey, if I’m wrong, at least you got a project done!  Now the toughest question:

So you’re inspired: now what?