This thing got me in my feelings, I gotta be real with it — 21st-century Philosopher, Drake.
Everything becomes a challenge when you don’t feel like doing it — even the things that come easy to you.
May 2020, I felt a creative high. I was in the zone! The gods of creativity wore their glowing regalia and came visiting. I woke my PC out of hibernation, opened medium and fleshed out the first draft of a solid article in minutes. This is it! I can do this. I finally found my calling (or so I thought).
With the blood of Kanye West running through my veins, I decided to publish an article every day. Easy peasy right? To my shame, The gods never came back the second day and as I tried to write, the resistance was mighty. I was blank.
Feeling frustrated and uncreative, I was this close to never writing another article.
Oh darn! Why are we so stuck up on our feelings? The words ‘Creative’ and ‘Curse’ should come together. Perhaps we’re born to create in this world but cursed to not have the aptitude to do what it takes.
The work of top creatives isn’t dependent upon motivation or inspiration. Rather it follows a consistent pattern and routine. It’s the mastering of daily habits that leads to creative success, not some mythical spark of genius.
— James Clear
Why We Wait For Inspiration
I’m uncertain of the reason you wait for inspiration. But I’ll show you how it happens with me and see if there’s a part of yourself in my shoes (I wear size 43 by the way).
I’m afraid of my own potential. Yo. There’s no limit to how far I can go with this writing thing (And you as well). None. If I’m obsessed with it, set up a routine to write for at least two hours, six days a week. Read voraciously, with a stroke of luck and timing, I could become an all-time great. But what if though?
What if this isn’t my calling? Has all that effort gone? The effort in the first place is a struggle. Do I want to do that? I mean I would have to take my life seriously. Am I ready for the sacrifices it will take?
I’m lazy as well. I procrastinate. And I also fear the day I open my PC to write and I’m blank again. What a Fraud!
So I’d rather wait for inspiration to strike, then go stretches of days or even weeks without doing any “creation”. But tweet about it, so it feels like I’m still creating.
I wax lyrical about the sweetness of the sap of creativity, but I do not want to get near the poison flower of consistency. Can you relate?
And other days, I’m not in the mood. I cannot create. I have life problems, like another failed talking stage you know(God when?). Problems at work, stuff happening in the world. How dare I even attempt to create when there’s so much negativity happening around.
But I write Regardless…
Because I remember that I’m not special and I’m not an Imposter. That I don’t have all the time in the world and there will always be negative occurrences happening around me.
All I have is an opportunity like David, in my generation, to Create. To be like my Father the creator, to use my gift to glorify the giver. I remember the people who have gone before me and the current world changers:
- Maya Angelou, who would rent a local hotel room and go there to write. She arrived at 6:30 AM, wrote until 2 PM, and then went home to do some editing. She would never sleep at the hotel.
- Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon, who writes five nights per week from 10 PM to 3 AM.
- Haruki Murakami, who wakes up at 4 AM and writes for five hours,
Nobody’s life will change if you don’t produce consistently. But there’s someone praying to God right now for the solution to their problem. That solution is you, your work, your art, your authenticity.
Will you keep them waiting because you’re waiting for inspiration?
For David, after HE HAD SERVED THE PURPOSE of God in his own generation, fell asleep. And laid among his fathers and underwent decay;
– Acts 13:36
How to Regain Control and Create No Matter How You Feel
Every action we take is a vote for the kind of person we want to become.
— James Clear
There’s no better prompt to create than when you don’t feel like doing it. We can take back our power from the fleeting hands of inspiration and produce great work no matter what. Here are three ways:
Choose Your Commitments
As humans, we have the ability to choose. To decide who we will serve and pay allegiance to. Our feelings or our commitment. Whichever we feed will grow and whichever we starve will die. You have to make a decision about what is important to you and then get out of our own way, every day.
Embrace the things you need to do, cut off the distractions and give yourself permission to make Junk.
“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.” — Joss Whedon
Reward is a Greater Motivation
Feelings are neurological. You need to give your brain better stimuli and you can do this through reward. The reward of being a published author trumps the feeling of not wanting to write. The reward of a relationship with your dream partner trumps the fear of making the first move.
What is your goal for creating? The vision you see in years to come? Print that and place it in a bold location. Whenever you see it, you get to work. Feelings Breed Static waves. Rewards bring Action.
Victor Frankl was a holocaust survivor of four German concentration camps because there was an important task he set his eyes on — the completion of a manuscript. Imagine that! That manuscript later became one of the most influential books of the post-war period.
“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Who for the JOY (reward) that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame. And is sat at the right hand of the throne of God.
– Hebrews 12:2
WHY DO YOU CREATE?
Using a Pre-determined Routine.
In ‘How to Get Motivated’, James Clear states that he played baseball for 17 years. And in every single match, whether he felt like it or not, he performed because of his Pregame Routine.
In his own words, “While this routine physically warmed me up to play, it also put me in the correct mental state to compete at a high level. Even if I wasn’t feeling up for the game at the beginning, by the time I finished my pre-game routine, I was in “game mode.”
If you need to create without inspiration, set up a routine that makes it as easy as possible for you to begin. And is repeatable every single time.
“If you only work when you feel motivated and inspired, then you’ll never be consistent enough to become a pro.
But if you build small routines and patterns that help you overcome the daily battles, then you’ll continue the slow march towards greatness. Even when it gets tough.”
Don’t Live Inspired, Live Prolific Instead.
Hey, you with actual talent. The world should know your name by now. You create like no other. The way your ideas flow. The way you see things.
My goodness! If you practice this system and become prolific, there’s no limit to how far you can go. It’s up to you now.
The internet belongs to the prolific.
People who write without inspiration.
People who write with inspiration.
Creators who become the inspiration for others.
So go ahead and launch that project on a premature high. Tomorrow you won’t feel like it, but you will do it. Because that’s who you are.
You do stuff. Every day.
You’re better than your feelings.
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