Getting into the habit

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 (Artist)

I know this quote is from an artist, but I think it can easily be applied to writers.  In fact, Pearl Buck said something very similar:   I don’t wait for mood. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.

When I manage to keep to a regular writing schedule, I write more and it is easier to write. Sort of like getting hungry every day about the time you usually eat dinner. Your mind gets creative about the time you usually sit down to write. It’s habit forming.  But you have to work a bit to form the habit!


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