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Inspiration, Writing Habits

I sometimes have trouble getting to sleep. When I do, I watch an episode or a few episodes from The Curriculum by The School of Life on YouTube. Each episode of the playlist covers the main ideas of the most famous people in history and why they are important to us today. All of this is taken care of through thoughtful narration and relevant animation. After a few videos, I'm nodding off and may feel just slightly more virtuous than I did before. 

Now I know you're already a genius and don't need this kind of thing, but it's been highly beneficial to me for coming up with ideas for storybooks (or something unrelated) in three ways.

Firstly,  my inspiration can come directly from the ideas being presented in the video in the most unoriginal sense. I could be watching a segment on Plato where they're discussing eudaimonia and fulfillment, then subsequently think, "I'm going to write a story where the main guy seeks fulfillment." Very basic "inspiration." The ideas don't usually go too far from there, and I don't get too excited about them.

Secondly, many of these videos generally orbit the idea that humans need to be happy and don't know how. By watching philosophers, political theorists, artists, etc. present their theories on this matter, I get a better feel on how to make a conflict more visceral. I feel it helps a story in the relate-able human aspect.

The third way these videos inspire me is the most common, and I'm sure you've had some great ideas this way too. Sometimes while watching I inevitably lose concentration and my mind wanders off, much like when you're in class and your mind drifts into la la land. Or if you've been reading a book and find that you read the last two pages with your eyes but recorded nothing in the mind because you're in deep space. These videos are like a catalyst to getting there. Great, weird things happen there - epiphany and such.

Regardless of the inspiration factor, these videos are interesting and well made. Watch a few of these if you're feeling uninspired or looking to learn, but don't actively look for inspiration. A watched pot never boils.