Even though I went to school for English (with a focus on fiction and poetry), I could never understand “artists.” They were always waiting for some divine inspiration to hit, and to take them over. Sure, it would come–occasionally. The rest of the time was spent pontificating about their inevitable greatness, and how no one “gets them.”
Later on down the road, once I started my career in writing (particularly ghostwriting), I had another run-in with artists. I was staying at someone’s house in New York, and there were other travelers staying there as well–most of them “artists.” They couldn’t believe I could:
A) Create on command and…
B) …produce content without my name on it.
That’s when I realized that a lot of art involves ego, but that’s a different story entirely.
What is important is that I was faced again with the question of inspiration. Where would I be if I relied on inspiration?
The answer was simple–nowhere.
Inspiration can help if it strikes (and there are times that it does, like in the shower), but otherwise you need to force the inspiration. If you want to accomplish great things, you can’t wait for inspiration to find you.
As a professional writer, I don’t have the luxury of “writer’s block.” Instead, I need to pound some coffee, and write whatever comes out. It may feel like it’s awful, but nine times out of ten–the next day when I check it–it’s fine. Maybe a touch-up here and there, but overall good.
Inspiration is fine and all, but it’s an overrated tool. If you are a creative, and you need to make money, throw inspiration in the backseat. If it wakes up halfway along your trip and chimes in, great. But don’t rely on inspiration–he’s a bum.
Instead, put your nose down and start working. The project will find you, but you need to start looking. Once you get going, maybe inspiration will yawn, ask if you’re there yet, and then help you get to where you’re going.
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