I attended a writer's group, the other day, where everyone told what they did to "become inspired." Two basic techniques were discussed:
1. Rituals, i.e., - "I try to write first thing in the morning when I'm fresh," or "When I'm stuck, I go for a walk/do a load of laundry/play with the dog." And,
2. Props, including funny stuffed animals, photos of supportive family and friends, framed copies of prior published works, and inspirational quotations displayed prominently in the work area.
These techniques may be useful, but I think the question of "how do you get inspired?" is the wrong one. Kids, after all, need do nothing to "get inspired" - they are just naturally inspired by almost everything around them. (Thus, a big cardboard box effortlessly becomes, first, a fort, and then a spaceship, igloo, castle, etc.) I think something happens to many of us, as we "grow up," that blocks our natural tendency towards inspiration.
The key, therefore, is not to go around chasing inspiration, but to deal with your blocks, or obstacles, so that your inspiration, which remains within, even when we're adults, can reveal itself. I picture one's work as a path, and the inspiration as a kind of warm light, waiting patiently for you on the other side of your block. When you've dealt with the block you can literally walk into your inspiration and be bathed in its light and warmth - and then the creativity just happens.
Once you find a reliable way past your blocks and to your inspiration, you'll be able to write, do your activism, exercise, or do whatever else that is important to you more or less effortlessly.
Agree? Disagree? How do you approach the problem of maintaining your energy and focus...i.e., your inspiration?