Innovation and inspiration are two things that usually go hand in hand.
We’ve all been at the desk, furiously typing away on a draft when innovation strikes. We stumble upon a new way of presenting a character, or we get past a plot point that had been troublesome for us up until this point. That flash of innovation inspires us to keep going, to go further into the story in the hopes that we will end up publishing something new and exciting.
While this type of inspiration can occur simply with “butt in chair,” and by doing the work, the innovation required to spark the inspiration is not as easily attained.
We are all creatures of habit, and writers are no different. We like to set routines, have things situated a certain way, to do things the way we like to do them. Quite often, this leads to increased productivity in the forming of good habits. However, systems and routines are not great when it comes to innovation and inspiration. The only way we can truly come up with an innovative idea is when we break out of those systems and routines that we mindlessly move through during the day.
I’m often inspired by reading other writers. I can sit on the couch with my favorite Stephen King or Dean Koontz novel and be amazed by their ability to tell an incredibly rich and engaging story. It makes me want to level up my own craft and to write a story that is just as good and captivating as theirs.
Songs can be another source of inspiration for me. In much the same way that I curl up on the couch with a good book, I’ll often put in my earbuds and listen to some of my favorite albums of all time.
That spark of innovation and inspiration is accessible to all of us if we are willing to spend the time enjoying works of art that we find inspirational.
But that will only take us so far.
The problem with relying on books or songs to become a source of innovation and inspiration is that we have tunnel vision. We tend to read the books we know we will like, or we listen to the music we think we will enjoy, and therefore, we get into habits and routines that are familiar and not conducive to fostering innovation.
Inside of a mastermind group, you are exposed to other ideas, works of art, and pieces of entertainment that you normally would not seek out. I’ve gone on to read books and authors I wouldn’t have even considered if left to my own devices because someone in a mastermind group who got to know me suggested it. Almost every time, that book or music recommendation has led to an inspiring moment or breakthrough on a project on which I had gotten stuck.
Using a small group consensus can really help. I don’t have to rely on what the masses tell me will be inspiring work, and I don’t have to take the word of a single person. Instead, the collective wisdom of the mastermind group can help me foster innovation and inspiration in real and meaningful ways.
Also, mastermind groups create a highly personal connection to innovation and inspiration. Whether I’m an attendee in a mastermind group or the person running it, there is always a moment when someone shares something that I hadn’t thought about or hadn’t tried before. I hear about a new strategy or technique, and it prompts me to change how I’ve been doing something. I’m more likely to trust the innovation and inspiration that comes out of the mastermind group because I’ve been working with these people regularly. These ideas are not random Internet suggestions, and they are also not suggestions coming from family and friends who might have ulterior motives.
The power of innovation can also be leveraged at a secondary level. As part of a mastermind, I can watch the experiments that others try and learn from those results. Quite often, I don’t implement what they did, exactly the way they did it. Instead, their attempt at innovation can then spark my own innovative ideas, and I become inspired with the confidence to try them because I know other members of the mastermind group are taking the same kinds of risks.
Fear is often the dark underbelly of innovation. We don’t know what kind of result we’re going to get, and therefore, the unknown frightens us. But if someone else in the mastermind group has tried something and is willing to share the honest results with everyone, I feel a little less alone in trying something similar.
I still get innovation and inspiration from masters of the genre in both literature and music. But nothing gets me more motivated than watching someone who is like me successfully innovating. I’ve even seen members of a mastermind group assist another member in trying something similar because that person felt as though they did not have the skill set to implement it themselves. Watching one person in a mastermind group help another without expectation or reward can sometimes be the most inspiring observation to come out of the session.
Want to take your writing chops and business savvy to the next level? Check out The Author Success Mastermind group at https://theauthorsuccessmastermind.com/join/