The thing about waiting for Inspiration


A friend sent this question after my post two days ago: “I am very passionate about music and I tried writing a couple of songs, but I don’t get to finish any….and I’m beginning to doubt whether I’m really gifted in this area. Once in a while, the inspiration hits and I note down a few lines…but for a long time, I haven’t gotten any inspiration again which has made me procrastinate again and again…what should I do?”.

My thoughts:

If you are a creative professional, it is very unsmart to wait for inspiration before you do the work you have settled for. Amateurs in the field can adopt that approach, but not you.

Usually, we know Inspiration to be that external force that impacts on our mind and influence the work we do. We all have had the magical moments in our lifetime. It’s the aha moment, Eureka moment like Archimedes called it. It comes once in a while like a lightning bolt from the skies and hits you on earth.

But my concern is, what if it doesn’t come for 1 month or 1 year?

Then, you pull it down. How? By showing up at your workstation whether or not you feel inspired.

One of the world’s greatest writer, Isaac Azimov, was once interviewed about how he managed to write almost 500 books over his career, and he said that every day at about 6.30am, he picks his pen and notepad or gets on his typewriter and he just starts writing till 12 noon, whether he felt inspired or not and did this consistently, averaging 7 hours every day for decades. Writing sense and writing nonsense …all together.

He had hacked the Inspiration and creativity process.

Rather than waiting for Inspiration to come, he found & mastered a way of attracting Inspiration to himself. That’s how Inspiration finds regular expression. It needs you to show faith in your own ability and also in it.

Show up on your desk. At worst, let it be that you showed up and the inspiration thing didn’t. If your job is to dance, show up, and do your bit of the dance (and by the way, Inspiration often dance with those already on the dance floor, so show up).

Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be – writing, coding, drawing, designing, singing, acting …whatever creative venture that you are involved in. Show up on your writing desk every day, perhaps, if the stars align, you could have a bestseller soon. Or perhaps not. Put in a couple of hours in the graphic design or the software work every day (both the days you feel like it and the days you don’t), and in a few years, you could emerge as your industry’s most sought after. Show up in the studio regularly enough and you could come up with a song that takes you around the world. That’s the way it works.

It’s like the idea of buzzer management – the secret isn’t to hit the buzzer when you are sure of the answer – by then, it’s already too late, because someone else would have taken the spot (the fastest finger only, gets a chance to attempt the question). The secret is to hit the buzzer even when the answer is still foggy in your head; it is to put yourself in the ring, so that the inspiration can meet you there.

Don’t wait for inspiration, go after it!

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