“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."
I read this quote the other day and felt like saying, "Hell yeah!" Chuck knows what's up.
I am, and always have been, one of those people who
to feel inspiration. The type of person who waits around for that moment. Because I do think inspiration can be great. It's that feeling that makes you think you really are an artist, that there is something greater within yourself that has yet to be discovered. It's motivating and optimistic and encouraging.
But it can also be destructive. Because sometimes, the inspiration just won't come. And often, you give up. The work stops, the production, the motion, the desire. When those days happen, everything feels like a lie. Like maybe you aren't as great at what you do as you thought. After all, if you were so great, wouldn't you just be full of ideas all the time?
Some days, the inspiration may not come. And that's okay. Some days, you just have to push through it and just do it. Just do the work, and stop waiting for the inspiration to arise. Don't force yourself to be inspired, just ask yourself to be productive. Because, like Chuck says, sometimes the best ideas come from the process.
I have to agree. There have been points where I just didn't think I had anything left in my brain to conjure up, and as soon as I started putting words on the page, more would come. As I would sketch one terrible jewelry design after another, suddenly it would just happen.
And sometimes, despite it all,
it still won't happen
. But that's the thing. Your failures don't mark your success. They teach you, and they shape you, and they pave the way for better ideas, better days. They are still moments of progress. They are part of the process, those days when you don't feel inspired. Every day is just a small part of the bigger journey.