My writing over the past few months has been a bit sporadic. I’ve been less inspired than usual to write, and fewer connections have come to mind. I’ve been thinking about the causes of this for a while – not wanting to put it down to the situation with Covid-19. I believe I’ve figured out what’s wrong – I’m missing two usually familiar sources of inspiration.
People are endlessly fascinating to me. We are very peculiar in how we approach the world. We believe things that don’t stand up to any kind of scrutiny. We react in unpredictable ways to events that would seem to require a logical or different approach. We lie to ourselves regularly (“I only ate one biscuit today!”) about things that matter and things that don’t. We sometimes extend ourselves for strangers and inadvertently neglect family members. We cry over cute advertisements, or movie scenes, but are indifferent to real suffering in other parts of the world. We are enigmas, wrapped in conundrums, wrapped in fashion. I believe we are also mostly good.
I’ve found that the recent, enforced lack of in-person interaction with people has reduced the number of connections I make in my thinking, as well as in my daily life. That shouldn’t have been a surprise as I’m still meeting with people every day, albeit virtually. But it was.
I’m also missing my daily dose of podcasts. My commute is between 2.5-3 hours every day, under non-Covid circumstances. While I don’t miss the commute (I’m enjoying having the extra time with my family, as I’ve previously written), I do miss the thought-provocation that comes from the various podcasts that keep me company when I’m driving.
I’ve realised over the last few years that I gain insights best through being exposed to multiple sources of information at the same time. It’s one of the reasons I tend to read several books simultaneously. It is only in the current situation that I’ve come to realise that other sources of input are also vital in helping me build composite pictures of subjects that interest me.
I’m now making a conscious effort to catch up with more people outside of work, although still virtually. I’m also trying to figure out when I can squeeze in a podcast – when I’m BBQing at the weekend, maybe? Either way, I’ve learned something new about my sources of inspiration. If you’re feeling blocked in some way, it may be worth figuring out the same for yourself.