Inspiration vs. Creativity


I’ve heard the argument before: inspiration is misleading and can lead you to thinking ideas are more creative than they are.

But how true is that?

I would argue there is some truth to it. One of the things I like to do is keep a notepad by my bed in case I have interesting ideas before sleeping. These are raw, unfiltered inspirations taken from random pre-sleep delirium. The next day, when I look at these ideas, some of them are usable and some are not. It’s important to remember that raw inspiration can be useful if you filter it.

It would be a mistake to try to transform every idea I had before bed into a story. In the same vein, it would be a mistake to ignore every idea I had before that time.

The word “creativity” assumes some value in what is produced, while “inspiration” does not. You may receive inspiration for a specific idea, but filter it and try to process it with this question: is this usable? 

In this case, we’re talking about writing. If your idea is outside your current skill for a story, that’s one thing, but if it’s a sharp left turn in a story you’ve been developing, it’s not usable. All ideas may be usable in some manner, just don’t let your feeling of inspiration cloud your reason.



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