Inspiration is for amateurs

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

― Chuck Close

I know that’s a long quotation to start with. So well done if you’re still reading this. I included all of it mainly because I like it.

It highlights my own personal dilemma with blogging and other forms of writing. Too often I feel uninspired, or I have too many ideas in my head (or idea book) and I don’t know where to start. Well, according to Chuck Close – and many others – the whole point is to get started. Having started, some words will flow. They may not be great literature, or even coherent sentences; but if you don’t start, you definitely won’t write great literature or coherent sentences.

So, it seems that the answer lies in commitment, not in inspiration. It’s about developing the daily discipline of showing up and writing.

As Nicholas Bate puts it:

If there is one thing you do today… It is to remember that writing is more about same pen, same time, same desk and less about no plot, no time, no publisher.


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