Monday, March 24, 2008

Don't Wait for Inspiration

Do you wait for inspiration before taking action? Don't. Imagine if athletes only practiced when they were inspired. Inspiration is a gift, but not something you count on every day. Put your focus on mastering your craft and let inspiration happen. When it does, you'll be ready for it. In The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield writes about how professionals don't wait for inspiration.

Concentrate on Technique
Pressfield writes about focusing on your technique over waiting for inspiration:

A pro views her work as craft, not art. Not because she believes are is devoid of a mystical dimension. On the contrary. She understands that all creative endeavor is holy, but she doesn't dwell on it. she knows if she thinks about that too much, it will paralyze her. So she concentrates on technique. The professional masters how, and leaves what and why to the gods. Like Somerset Maugham she doesn't wait for inspiration, she acts in the anticipation of its apparition. The professional is acutely aware of the intangibles that go into inspiration. Out of respect for them, she lets them work. She grants them their sphere while she concentrates on hers.

The sign of the amateur is over-glorification of and preoccupation with the mystery.

The professional shuts up. She doesn't talk about it. She does her work.

Key Take Aways
Here's my key take aways:

  • Don't wait for inspiration. Inspiration isn't something you should count on, but you should be able to leverage it when it happens. The key is to create more opportunities for your inspiration to be unleashed.
  • Focus on mastering your craft. The key here is to focus on what you control. You have control over your techniques and routines. By improving your techniques and routines, you set yourself up for success. When you have your moments of inspiration, your skill and routines will serve you well.

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