Inspiration comes in many forms and disguises.
But waiting for inspiration to come along is a bit like waiting for lightning to strike.
Often when I talk to people about creating their own projects, they’re excited at first, but that excitement quickly sinks under the weight of responsibility. They have jobs, they have families, they have social lives, they have habits that they’re not willing to give up or let go of, and so their work goes unfinished, in many cases un-started, because they hope that one day all these things will simply melt away and they’ll be able to make that something that’s been gnawing at them.
Of course, that never happens.
The thing is, we all have the same amount of time in a day, why is it that some people can write novels, plays, screenplays, manage businesses, network like the mafia and still manage to appear to have thriving social lives?
It’s all about discipline.
Just like working out: the hardest part is getting to the gym, putting on your shoes, and getting out onto the floor.
The same goes with making your own work: the hardest part is sitting down to do it. If you’re at the grocery store, thinking about the show you’ve been wanting to write, of course the thought leaves your head too quickly. If you’re rushing around, doing a million unimportant things, of course you don’t meet the right people. You say that you can’t write? Sit down in front of an open, blank document and wait for 20 minutes. If you haven’t written anything, you’re done for the day.
One of my favourite books on the subject is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. In it he talks about Resistance, and the daily struggle we all have with it. It comes in other forms too: fear, laziness, procrastination, anxiety, overwhelm. It’s not about conquering it once and for all, it’s a daily struggle and it always will be. Imagine it as jumping into a cool lake every morning. You can stand at the edge of the water, and stare at it, dip your toe in, wade around, but until you dunk your head under, you’re not in the water. Or you can take a run at it and jump in.
There will always be TV shows to watch, bars to go to, friends to hang out with, laundry to fold, a kitchen to clean, a dog to walk.
There are endless things to keep you from making art. But only discipline can help you do it consistently. – Click To Tweet!
Love fades, inspiration comes and goes. There will be times when you won’t even like your project anymore, but discipline will see you through. Pick something, anything, and start small. 10 minutes a day, writing, painting, drawing, reading plays, reaching out to members of the community that you need to meet… Just do something, because wishing for work isn’t helping anyone.