Don’t wait for inspiration to show up. You’re ready now. Go, now. Build.
Embrace uncertainty. Sit with the confusion to the other side. Sitting with it builds resolve, bravery and courage, all qualities the creative leverages to do the work. And we’re doing the work right now even if we don’t want to. The work calls us, prioritizing it self above all else. It must be done. It must be whittled. It must be honed. It must be executed.
To wait for inspiration to show up is the amateur’s desire. We’re ready now. We start now. We build now. Because motivation and inspiration show up after we begin our work. This why momentum is so important. This why discipline is so important. We show up every day at 6 am to get to the creative work. No excuses. No BS. Even if we feel sick, we still show up , feeling sick while we create. Amazingly, we feel better after we’re done. Even if you throw up while you’re working, that’s OK. And that’s a great story of dedication and drive you can tell your friends. Peter Fonda would always throw up before his performances, and then he would march out on stage and kill it. That’s a Creative Pro. That’s dedication to the craft.
The beginner daydreams, sits, stifled, wondering what to do next. What to do next is to keep going, keep painting, keep writing, keep scribbling, keep working. Keep working x 19. Make that x99. It is the work ethic of the creative that they ought to strive for, the creative output. The dedication to the creative craft. Not the hits. You can’t rely on creating the hits because hits are not up to you. They’re up to your audience. And hits are fickle.
Always have something you’re working on.
What’s not fickle, if you choose it through momentum and discipline and going and building, is your dedication to the work. The best way to get a hit podcast is to see what people want, and then dedicate yourself to a creation and release schedule. The best way to develop a reputation as a painter is to paint a ton. Paint all the time. The best way to develop a reputation as a videographer / storyteller is to create a lot of great video work. Your best work isn’t up to you — it’s up to your audience. And the best promotion for your past work is your current creative project. Always have something you’re working on.
What to do when things get hard? Yeah, but what do I do when I don’t know what to do? I find myself stuck. Sit with it. Breathe. Draw. Scribble. Keep moving. Keep typing. Keep speaking. Try embracing your screw ups because they’re coming anyway. If you do video work, you know that half of what you shoot never gets published. The real blooper reel is long. It’s too bad directors don’t include these at the end of films any more because they showcase the humanity of the actors and creators who made the film. They are clearly not always like they portray their characters. Plus, your mess ups can become a part of the piece. That’s why you keep going, keep trying, keep at it. You may be able to use it after all.
Things always get better after you start. Motivation and inspiration show up then.
Know these two things. 1) Most people do not possess the courage nor tenacity to be a paid creator. Most people feel that they do not possess a creative bone in their body. Most people miss the point entirely because they don’t believe in themselves enough to think it will work. 2) More important, if you decide for you that this is your path and you dedicate yourself to it, all the better. It should feel like you never had a choice , even though you did. There is something to singular focus of vision that creates great power. I must make this work! I have no choice. It is /this/ or bust. That’s scary. That’s powerful. That’s creative resolve. That’s inspiration and dedication. See, you generate those from within, not externally. It is up to us to create these feelings ourselves /through working, through the doing/, not through thinking about work or awards or accolades. NO matter what, get going now. Things always get better once you start. We are ready now. Ready, Player 2.
Here’s the other scary part: your work is never finished. There is always another project. There is always another canvas. There is always another video. There is always another blog post. There is always another teaching or training. There is always another start-up. There is always another live performance. There is always another app. There is always another gig. This should scare you. This should reassure you. This should reassure you because no matter how poor your previous performance, there is always another creative way. You could feel your last speaking performance sucked and yet live to speak again in two days. You could have bombed at your last standup gig and yet there is another opportunity for you to go up there and kill. This is why the key is to keep going, keep creating, keep working, keep typing, keep painting, keep Photoshopping, keep Posting, keep your hands and feet moving! Because so long as you’re breathing, you’re moving, you’re building momentum closer toward your Creative Vision of what you want now. And you’re listening to your audience, engaging them, seeing what it is they want now. It turns out that your work is never finished isn’t scary at all. It’s a relief. It’s a relief because all you have to do is show up tomorrow and do your creative best. Our work is never finished. The best marketing for yesterday’s creative project is today’s creative project.
Waiting for inspiration to strike before you work is for beginners. Pros get after it without feeling it. Just like the gym. Almost no one feels the gym before they go inside. They feel the lack of desire to go work out and then they march right into the gym to work out! It doesn’t matter how we feel about the creative work — we go to work. After our creative session, wherever the chips fall is where they fall. We did what we did. We aimed high and got after it. And that work ethic is all the award we need. It’s a self-fulfilling state of mind, an attitude. Because you’re doing the thing to be the thing. The keyword is doing. Going. Building momentum toward what we want. Then, doing it again and again. We’re ready now.
What if I can’t seem to beat the darkness and the uncertainty and the discomfort of it all?
Acknowledge it. Feel it. Breathe through it. Keep breathing. And get back to work, even if all you’re doing is scribbling, even typing gibberish. Before we go on camera, a lot of us “shake it out,” literally shaking and quaking our bodies, our arms, our hands, our fingers to help settle the nervousness of going on camera. For whatever reason, it works. You might try shaking it out before you go on, before you begin. Even during the work. Nobody’s watching you. Yet. Even if they were, they’d want to peer into your creative process. (Everybody wants to see how the sausage is made.) They’d see you shaking it out. Shake it out, and then get back to work because you’re on.
What will you create next!?