Inspiration Optional

GrettaMay 27, 2020

It's great when it's there, but it's not a requirement for creative work.

Inspiration, just like motivation feels great. It's exciting, the work feels easy, and you can just flow. But what happens when you're not feeling inspired? I think there's this idea that you can't do creative work without inspiration. Or at least the idea that you can't do creative work well without inspiration. But is that true? I don't think so.

What is inspiration, anyway? Inspiration is defined as, “The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” I've experienced inspiration in the form of a thought coming to me, seemingly appearing in my mind, or from hearing someone else talking about something, and less often, from things I see. Either way, the way I like to think of inspiration is having strong motivating thoughts and feelings that compel us into action. Often as a response to an external circumstance.

Why is waiting for inspiration to strike a problem? Well, for one, you're going to be doing a whole lot of waiting. You'll be spending a lot of time in inaction, which doesn't move you forward towards your goals, or towards improving your skills. Secondly, inspiration isn't a circumstance. It isn't something that comes to us. It isn't something to find or something that you can lose. It's just a thought. You generate inspiration with your own mind. Secondly So, if it's just a thought, and we can consciously, purposefully create our thoughts, the question is: should you work to generate it anytime you're about to pursue a creative endeavor.

My answer is no and I would ask: why would you want to generate inspiration each time you were about to create something if you could do the work well without it?

Generating an emotion that isn't necessary, in my opinion, not an efficient use of your desire. Humans have a limited amount of desire. Let's say you use 70% of your daily desire in the pursuit of generating inspiration. Even if you do generate inspiration, you'll have 30% left over to do the actual work. How much will you have left to go about the rest of your day and get other things done? Not much. Suddenly, doing much else beyond your tackling your creative project seems exhausting and overwhelming.

And what if you aren't able to generate it? You've used up 70% of your desire, you have 30% left over and now you still have to get your work done. Or not. Maybe you decide to not go through with your project at all since you weren't inspired.

I know this dance well. I speak from experience when I say, once I stopped looking for inspiration and just got to work, I started creating way more frequently, and got better at my craft. And, I learned how to feel committed, determined, and willing. These are pretty neutral, kind of uncomfortable emotions, but they produce positive results. And, they're 100% necessary to create progress towards your goals.

Your next question might be how. How do you just do the work? You just decide to do it. Do it now, or put it on a calendar. And follow through. You're not going to want to do it when your calendar tells you to (it's really your highest self telling you to) - especially when you're 20 minutes in and you think everything that you've done so far is terrible. You're want to throw in the towel. Don't do it. Don't give into that urge. You get better at the grind each time you push through and you have something to show for it - the work you produced. It won't always be a struggle but if you learn to push through on the days where it is a struggle, that's where you build mental resiliency. And that skill, my friend, will take you places you've only dreamed of.

If you love this concept and want to learn more, schedule your free consultation. I look forward to hearing from you!

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