Inspiration, as defined by psychologists Todd Thrash and Andrew Elliot, involves three key qualities.
Firstly - inspiration is spontaneous. It is evoked without intention. Secondly – inspiration is transcendent. It often involves a moment of clarity, leading to an awareness of new possibilities. Thirdly, finally, and what I’ve come to realise is maybe the most important of all – inspiration involves ‘approach motivation.’ This means we strive to transmit, express, or actualize our new idea or vision. The reason I’m explaining this? Because thanks to Amy Hughes, it turns out I've been genuinely inspired.
Who is this Amy Hughes, you may be asking? And where can the rest of us find one? Where all ultra-marathon runners go to hang out - the Trafford Centre of course. In the last week, 28-year-old Amy has been hanging out there on a treadmill, running seventy-five miles every day and breaking a world record or two. Inspirational right? Heck yeah, I’ll say. But let me tell you some more. In 2014, she broke records again, running fifty-three marathons in fifty-three days. I’m not sure what I was doing in 2014 that meant I hadn’t heard about her until now, but perhaps Amy would tell you, it’s neither here nor there, what matters is her actions inspired.
I’ll put this into a personal context - and hope it’s not too much of a tangent. Since first viewing ‘Labyrinth,’ aged six, I’ve wanted to write a film. I’ve been inspired - so I thought - by countless films since. Friends inspire me, so do podcasts and courses, but how many films have I’ve written to date? A grand old total of… None. So apart from becoming an inspiration junkie, what is it I’ve been planning to do?
Going back to Amy, mileage aside, the thing that really inspired me, was that she’d been inspired by Larry Macon; who ran across all fifty U.S states. Amy was ‘inspired,’ then, like Thrash and Elliot explained, she was motivated to action. She didn’t just daydream; she hit the road, put her mind to it and did it. Someone from Nike should really get in touch, seems to me she’s their ultimate spokeswoman.
It seems achingly obvious, but when inspiration hits, taking action can be easy to forget. Screenwriting podcasts inspire me to be a better writer, but Amy Hughes has inspired me to write.
You can find out more about Amy, her challenges and the charity she’s raising awareness for; the Isabelle Lottie Foundation - here. http://amyhughes53.co.uk/
Harriet is a writer and animator from London. For more of her work, check out http://harrietgillian.com/