It’s Not Where You Find Inspiration That Counts

by Ainslie

I find blinding inspiration in the weirdest fucking places.

I tried to resist, for a while. Tried to censor myself, to look for “proper” inspiration. You know the kind. In literature, in everyone’s favourite self-improvement figures, in the Dalai Lama, in artists who worked decades before I was born. The kind of inspirational quotes and lessons you’d sigh and nod sagely about at a poncy dinner party.

Except, well. I don’t go to poncy dinner parties. I might get fired up about some early 20th century art, but it’s likely to be Duchamp’s urinal…so, that’s not quite the example I was looking for.

I’ve needed to draw long and deep (believe me, that could have been much much worse) from my personal inspiration bucket recently, getting ready to launch this biz. I made a list of Shit That Inspires Me a few weeks ago, and joked on my top secret tumblr about how absurd it was, how it exposes the depths of my mind palace that are often not fit for polite company.

Since this is anything but polite company, I thought I might share. It went a little something like this:

  •  I don’t know how many years on this Earth I got left, I’m going to get real weird with it – spirit animal Frank Reynolds
  • Fuck You Misha Collins / GISHWHES / rollerskating in tigersuits
  • Fucking Cumberbatch is Sherlock and can draw shit too
  • That time The Doctor said “did you know, in 900 years of time and space, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important before.”
  • THE. BOSS.
  • Keep Calm and DFTBA

Even just transcribing this again, it motivates me to DFTBA – “don’t forget to be awesome,” the secret handshake of Hank + John Green, and the nerdfighter community. Oh, and, like, a record label and stuff.

Let yourself be inspired by whatever speaks to you.

So, my question is – what really inspires you? Is it surrealist urinal art, is it painfully talented actors who make you wanna break dishes every time you find out one more reason they’re so goddamn wonderful, is it your favourite song, a line from the dirtiest / funniest sitcom on TV that is technically referring to creepy incest, is it some badass nerdy YouTubers, or is it another blogger?

When I let myself give ‘er and make the list I wanted to make, it worked. It was freeing, it was a little bit ridiculous. I cackle with glee when I glance at it throughout the day, and I want to make my own work better, weirder, funnier, more creative, because of it. It’s personal, and that’s the key. Compiled from the depths of my wonky soul, it’s a Top Five (+1) only I could create (and possibly understand).

I’m pretty sure you need to try it.

Tell me about your unconventional inspiration in the comments. Do you think certain things are “proper” inspiration and others are not? Should it matter, if it fires you up to do your work? Do you think I’m just using this as an excuse to watch episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia under the guise of “getting inspired”?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca March 21, 2012 at 11:42 am


You know all the naysayers who question what you’re doing, or tell you it’ll never work, or that one day you’ll have to face reality? THAT’S what I get inspiration from :)


Ainslie March 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm

YES. Being inspired to prove the unbelievers wrong is awesome. And you’re doing it!


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