Waiting for Inspiration


Light bulb The most difficult temptation to overcome in creativity is the idea that we must wait for inspiration.  There is not a creative person on the planet that doesn't love the moments where an idea seemingly bursts out of nothing in the middle of the night.  These inspirational moments are important, but they are not the norm.  One of the most difficult things to do in the act of creation is to face an empty canvas on a day that you feel uninspired.  The choice you make when you face the blank canvas and have zero inspiration determines whether you will create mediocre art or great art.  You are left with two options:

Do Nothing.

You can wait for the creative moment.  You can wait for the time that you are woken up from your sleep with an idea that will change the world.  You can wait for the light bulb moment that you crave.  Or you can face the reality that creativity most often happens differently.  You can face the reality that light bulb moments may happen on occasion but they should not be relied on.  You can face the reality that in order to be creative, you must create.

Create Anyways.

This is the difficult option; it's easier to do nothing.  It's easier to wait for inspiration, that's what everybody else does.  It's a lot of work to come up with something to create when you don't have any ideas.  Write even when you don't feel like writing.  Make music when you don't have a melody in your head.  Paint a picture when you don't have any vision for what you should paint.  Here's the important thing to realize about this; it may not become a brilliant work, but it will help you improve at your craft and an uninspired, less-than-average idea may unlock something that inspires a great idea.

"I, like many of you artists out there, constantly shift between two states. The first (and far more preferable of the two) is white-hot, "in the zone" seat-of-the-pants, firing on all cylinders creative mode. This is when you lay your pen down and the ideas pour out like wine from a royal chalice! This happens about 3% of the time.

The other 97% of the time I am in the frustrated, struggling, office-corner-full-of-crumpled-up-paper mode. The important thing is to slog diligently through this quagmire of discouragement and despair. Put on some audio commentary and listen to the stories of professionals who have been making films for decades going through the same slings and arrows of outrageous production problems." - Austin Madison from Pixar

Photo Credit: Emry

2 Comments