Showing posts from 2011

Your Mission, If you Choose to Accept it…

Douglas Clark

-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

Have you ever thought or felt like you were wandering through life and things were just happening to you?Have you ever felt as if you had no power to direct the course you were heading toward?Ever feel as if you had no choice in the events and scenery in your field of view?Ever just feel totally directionless? I have and I hated it. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re a spectator in your own life.But it doesn’t have to be that way.Not at all!What you need is a mission.Something that drives you and fills you with motivation and passion, something that spurs you forward, regardless of the financial gains or losses, regardless of the snickering or derision of others. Something you’d do for free, or something you’d do even if YOU had to pay to do it.That’s a passion.Making your passion your mission in life gives you direction and focus. But how do you find your mission?For me, it took a long, long time to recognize something that …

How Do You Stir Up The Doldrums?

Douglas Clark

-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut.I hate to admit it, but it’s true.For all of my own self-motivation and determined fortitude, I sometimes slack off.Actually I probably do it a whole lot more than I am willing to admit to you or myself.I’m not proud of that though.In fact, sometimes I’ve actually sat down and calculated all the ‘wasted time’ during a week I could have used for something productive.Yeah, that number can sometimes be staggering.So what is it about life and responsibilities that fosters procrastination and the blasé feeling of the Doldrums?Could it be disinterest? Or stress?Possibly anxiety and lack of ability?I think any one of those or a combination is definitely possible. However, I also think that the major cause is Overload. Think of all the things you have to do during just one single week.For me, well, I work full time, I’m a single parent, I’m writing a master’s thesis, I’ve started my own small business, I write a …

You Gotta Have Fun

Sometimes there’s just no substitute for a good time.No matter how focused, determined, motivated, or dedicated you are, you have to put it aside and just do it.Fun means different things to different people, obviously, but there’s a difference between ‘FUN’ activities and ‘Relaxing’ activities.Sitting at the park or on the beach is relaxing but how fun is that compared to riding on a wicked cool roller coaster, or going down a water slide, or even riding your bike?Okay, I’ll admit that ‘what is fun’ can be very subjective.I’m sure some people would even argue doing algebra equations is ‘fun’ but I think the majority of us would disagree with that little bit of logic.I think fun should be a heart racing, laugher inducing, or wide-eyed wondering activity.
For some people, fun is a bit of an elusive creature.Social awkwardness and timidness can get in the way.Fear of embarrassment also makes it hard.One major thing I’ve noticed is the fall back excuse of “I didn’t have anyone to go with”…

An Extraordinary Life

Are you living the life you always dreamed of?Probably not, and at the risk of sounding like some kind of salesman, I say that you could.You just need to learn how.But unlike that sleazy salesman, I’m not offering a quick and easy trick to get that extraordinary life.Unfortunately, it will take a lot of hard work.Think about that phrase for a moment, ‘An Extraordinary Life.’Extra-ordinary, as in more than ordinary, meaning more than the same old same old. Well it’s that ‘extra’ that is the real trick isn’t it (no pun intended)? Extra hard work, extra dedication, extra attention, extra drive, extra effort, extra need, extra want, and extra motivation; these are just a few of the elements necessary to achieve that Extraordinary life.Do you have what it takes?You probably won’t know unless you try.
Making the attempt is the first step.However, whoever said the first step was the hardest might not have been completely accurate.It gets harder the farther you go, but guess what, if you reall…

The Book of Life

From a very young age I’ve always thought of my life as like a book.Events and experiences filled the pages as life goes on, eventually creating chapters, some better than others, some funny or sad, meaningful or boring, but all part of me.I started reading a lot when I was about 12 so I’m sure that had a lot to do with this mindset. I was fascinated by the whole process of writing and it almost boggled my mind that a writer could actually put together a coherent story, sometimes spanning hundreds of pages and make it entertaining.I thought that it would be cool to try that too.I first put pen to paper to tell an original story when I was about 16.I haven’t stopped since.Granted, I’ve procrastinated and went years without writing an original work.For that I have excuses, but no good reasons. Okay, so why is this important and how does it relate to life?For a while I listlessly meandered though my life, the chapters I was ‘writing’ were boring, uninspiring and sometimes even destructive…

Own the Moment!

Everyone has fear.Everyone has doubts and trepidation of the unknown.Trying new things, going through a routine or situation totally unfamiliar can be unsettling and unpleasant.Many people shy away from the new, the ‘out of the ordinary’ for that very reason.I know; I was one of them.I used to be the perennial wall flower.I used to be so shy it was crippling.The fear of failure, the anxiety of not knowing the outcome, the inexperience of dealing with things ‘on the fly’ all got in the way of my quest to tackle life and make it not only one worth living, but one worth telling about too.As a writer, I feel I need experiences to enrich and enliven my stories, my characters, narrative, plot, and as an aside and a bit selfishly, broaden my own personal horizons too.But how can you broaden your horizons if you’re afraid to reach for the edge of the world?You can’t. So what do you do?Socialization was an agonizing mystery to me for the longest time, but I really wanted to get to know people.…

Join In!

What does it mean to get involved?Do you have to be a group organizer or the life of the party?Does it mean rallying a ton of your friends to get things started, or go door to door getting people motivated?Or is it something simple?At the very least joining in means doing something, anything other than the same old stuff.Have you ever thought about doing something that looked fun or interesting but ‘never got around to it’?How horrible would you feel if you spent the rest of your life thinking about it and then never did it?Regret is so very heavy; carrying it around with you can be de-motivating, especially if it’s for regret of not having ever tried.I’d hate that.Joining in can simply mean getting involved with your life. An old girlfriend of mine, who I’m still friends with, has a self-realized joy of wanderlust.She can’t stay in one place for very long before she needs to go explore something new.I’m intent on learning the saxophone, even though I have no music ability whatsoever.I…

Motivation and Desire

Have you ever noticed that sometimes, inspiration isn't enough?  Sometimes you can have that killer, awesome idea, but you just can't do anything with it.  How is that possible?  I think it has a lot to do with motivation and desire.  Having a great imagination and inspiration are key elements to the creative process, but they aren't the whole story.  Motivation and desire are the 'action' elements of creativity.  Those two things are the ones that get you off your butt and actually 'doing'.  I've had incredible ideas and then done Nothing with them. Why?  Because I wasn't motivated.  The idea was there, but nothing about my life and my situation powered the drive to actually go out and do something with it. 

To actually act upon your inspiration and creativity, you have to get to what H. Peyton Young called the 'tipping point.'  He was discussing communities and their moments of change, but the same can hold true for individuals.  You need…

Carpe diem versus Do it Now!

Is there a difference between seizing the day or doing something right now?They both carry the connotation of immediacy but when you think about it, there is a huge difference between the two.If you ‘Do it now’ it’s immediate and spontaneous; there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of right now.In fact, I would say that doing things right when you think of them is a great hedge against procrastination.There’s no time to second guess or get anxious.Taking action immediately avoids the otherwise inevitable self-doubt and regret.The rewards can be great too.How many times have you done something on the spur of the moment and it turned out to be one of the best times of your life?I think we all have stories like that. But sometimes action without contemplation is unrewarding, even dangerous. Second guessing can and is very important; life-saving even. I know we all have stories about how we should have just taken an extra moment to think about the consequences.It happens and we all mak…

Being the Malcontent

Okay, so I’m not advocating revolution or dissent, but I am thinking about changing the status quo.I’m contemplating the innovation of change.Not just rhetorical change that politicians spout, but real, positive, life-improving change.Have you ever just done something the same way for so long it seems alien to you to even attempt doing it a different way?The familiar pattern is so engrained in you that the discomfort that accompanies change can seem overwhelming.I understand that, but have you ever noticed that sometimes (actually lots of times) with no change comes stagnation.
Stagnation is detrimental to experiencing the new.It saps creativity and inspiration and clouds your mind’s eye to something fresh.Case in point, driving home from work is a chore, but I go a certain way because I know it to be the fastest.What I noticed was, after a while, I stopped noticing things: The scenery, the buildings, the road signs.I recall thinking that I didn’t even want to go home because it was th…

What’s Your Medium?

Sometimes self expression comes naturally.Sometimes it has to be cultivated.Knowing where and how to communicate your creative desire is not only helpful but necessary.Imagine a singer trying to draw a picture, or a sculptor trying to write a novel. Communicating your vision through the wrong medium can cloud your message and discourage you from continuing.
Why is this important?Experimentation is critical in finding your voice and medium.I know this seems obvious, but sometimes trying something completely new and outside your comfort zone is exactly what you need to excel.I’m primarily a writer, but I also draw and sketch.Now I’m not the greatest artist in the world but doing my little doodles gives me another avenue for expression.It also helps to get my imagination working in different levels.I’ve also tried learning to play the Saxophone.Okay my efforts haven’t born any fruits.Trust me you don’t want to hear that cacophony. But the point of it all is doing it.
My daughter is a picky…

Persistence and Determination

To me, there’s nothing more infuriating than a lost opportunity.When I was younger, I would lament and feel sorry for myself when I didn’t get what I wanted. Thing was, I rarely went out and seized the opportunity to get it.Really.That doesn’t make much sense does it?I’ve noticed that a lot of people bemoan the fact that their lives aren’t the way they want them to be.But I rarely see people driving forward and really fostering that change necessary to make a real difference.There is a certain amount of effort that is necessary to ‘just get by’ and there is about a hundred times more effort necessary to ‘make it happen’.It wasn’t until I realized I was the only one that could honestly ‘make it happen’ in my life, that I really started to see the positive improvements and change happen.
Someone recently said to me, “A great idea is the start, but those that are successful have persistence and determination.”That is so true it’s hard to describe.Never giving up is a hallmark of success.I…

Magically disappearing posts...

So I had a pretty good post written up here.  Posted on May 11th, and just like many things in life, it up and disappeared before you know it. Do you think it has something to do with it being Friday the 13th?  Creapy.   This reminds me that enjoying the moment and really appreciating what you have right now really counts for the most. Worrying about the past or the future really takes up a lot of energy and just sucks you dry.

So, appreciate the moment, because nothing is guaranteed.

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

Closely linked to Creativity is the Inspiration necessary to create.  I've often wondered 'where' Inspiration comes from.  To be totally honest, Inspiration comes from everywhere, anywhere and nowhere.  At first this may seem like a cryptic and convoluted non-answer, but bear with me.  Life is really just a person's perspective.  It's the sum of all their experiences, knowledge, intellect, hopes, dreams, fears and relationships, to both others and their environment.  People see life through their own perspective, not Bob's, or Jim's, or Sally's.  If one were to remain isolated in their comfort zone, that comfort zone would shrink and they would be less and less likely to try new things, keep an open mind about different perspectives and generally become closed off.

This is where inspiration does NOT live.  Inspiration is closely linked to experience, variation and  emotional variance.  If you become ex…

What Creativity Means to Me

I believe that creativity is a quality that all people posses, but not all people embrace.  Creativity is that quality that enables a person to leap beyond the boundaries of reality into a place where everything and anything is possible.  Creativity, for me, is my way of expressing my views, interpretations and feelings, without having to conform to society or other peoples’ beliefs.  Perhaps it’s a bit egotistical to say, but when I create a story, or a painting, I’m the master of that universe.  The power of ‘what if’ is in my hands and I can see a world unlike anything else. 
Creativity is both a skill and a talent.  The more it is used and developed, the sharper it becomes.  I believe that all people can be creative, not necessarily as a writer, or a painter, or in any of the accepted areas of creative arts, but in areas they feel a calling to.  If there is a passion inside them that calls for creation, the desire to innovate or improve, creativity will follow.  It doesn’t matter …

Cute Things

So after many years of not having time or mental energy, I finally emerged from my unfocused fog and was inspired.  Sitting down with my daughter, we draw, color, paint, and sketch all the time.  Because of that, I started to get more experimental and try new things.  It had been a long time since I tried animal characters, so I just sat down and sketched out this cute little parrot.

I did the bird totally by hand with colored pencil.  The text was an addition with photoshop.  I think it turned out really well.  For it being a tshirt design, I'd imagine it for a little girl, but I'm sure the ladies might like it too.  What do you think?

Don't forget to check out my online store: for funny tshirts!

Inspiration born from drudgery!

After years of suffering through a 9-5 job, I decided to do something about the mind numbing boredom that invaded my life every day.  I have a good job, it pays well and the people I work with are great.  BUT, (yeah, there's always a but) I need to have greater challenges and more creative outlets.  I've always been an artist, a writer, a dreamer, storyteller and one to get lost in imagination.  That's the great part about being alive.  There is always a way to envision the world as something better, something new, something great.

My brother and I jumped into a tshirt design business.  Yeah, we're totally inexperienced, but so what.  Learning is half the fun, and besides, who wants a company meant to help with self expression being run by some corporate stuffed shirt or some really old or out of touch fuddy duddies?  Not me.  I'm not out to insult or hurt anyone, just come up with designs that catch your attention, make you think, or laugh, cringe, or snicker.  So…