Stop Waiting for Creative Inspiration
Of course it happens to you. It happens to everyone. You want to write, you want to make music… but you’re just not feeling it. Creative inspiration, it seems, has forsaken you and your prodigious talent. It has vacated the premises. And you have no idea where to find it again.
What can you do? It’s out of your hands.
But that’s not actually true. Your ability to create is always within your control. And that is why it weighs on you like a backpack full of hardbound books. To create something, you have to summon discipline and courage. You have to give yourself exclusively to it for a period of time. And you don’t entirely want to.
No, you want to write “I Am the Walrus” while you sit for 15 minutes in the waiting room at Jiffy Lube. You want to pen A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius while watching a Seinfeld marathon.
But you can’t.
It’s OK — John Lennon and Dave Eggers were a lot like you, just trying, sporadically at times, to put pen to paper.
Prioritize Your Creative Time
Creative inspiration is not a mysterious gift that washes over you. It is a power you hold and wield. To use it, you must accept two things: First, you are not going to create anything by accident. As serendipitous as creativity is, it doesn’t bear fruit without your intellectual and emotional attention. Second, you are not going to create anything by wishing or waiting for it to happen. To produce something, you have to prioritize it ahead of other things — including barbecues, Facebook, and long drives in the countryside.
You have to make it your best friend, at least for a little while. And your best friend gets dibs on your time.
It’s simple: stop waiting for creative inspiration to visit you with a little wand and a handful of pixie dust. Open the door and let it in — and lock the door behind it. Turn off the TV, put your digital devices away, and give your undivided attention to the blank page staring back at you.
And get to work. The results might surprise you.
This is great my man.
I’ve always thought this but great to see someone put it into something clear.
This is so simple! I found it so hard to force myself to write for fear of it turning out crap, but I realised that I should expect crap if I’m going to be getting results. Only last week did I start putting in ‘shifts’ to write and it worked! Got the rest of the band to help out for the first time and we made some great sounding stuff 😀
Hey Mark, Great post and so true. As a dad with two boys (17 & 20) I think their generation doesn’t understand how to be quiet. They are so used to noise, Noise, NOISE that it is uncomfortable when gets too quiet. But for me, quiet is what I need to create and turning off all the other stuff is quite often the start of inspiration. Speaking of which, the play on Emmett is progressing and is going to debut next spring in Sarasota, FL. I still love listening to your song and we may want to incorporate it somehow and if so, I’ll be in touch.
Steve, great to hear from you. And congrats on Sarasota. I know you guys worked long and hard to make it happen. Sometimes it’s about persistence and tenacity and just caring enough to see it through. Break a leg!