Why does inspiration for writing fade away when you have a set deadline for an article? Or why does the lust for drawing escape the minute you realise that your assignment is due tomorrow and not next week? Many philosophers consider laziness to be part of human nature, which explains the sudden disappearance of inspiration when you “have to” do something. However, I think some pressure is good to get a “kick in the ass” and to get started. The first sentence or line are always the hardest. But once you are in the flow you are unstoppable! Charles and I are by no means experts, but experience have taught us some essential points on how to get your work done.
“To skip a deadline is an instant inspiration killer”
Some people think that artists never run out of ideas or inspiration. But in reality, there is no bigger difference in the foundation of having to perform a task. As mentioned in a previous article, the artist is the one who shows up everyday and get to work. Self-discipline and continuity isn’t a given regardless of profession. We all have to constantly work to reach our goals!
As long as you are in school or work for a company, you will continuously receive new deadlines. Perhaps it’s good grades or your paycheque that inspires you to work, but what if you are self-employed? Most artists fall under the latter category, which naturally implies a greater need for self-discipline. You will have to constantly give yourself deadlines. The most efficient strategy is to make a distinction between long- and short-term goals. The smaller deadlines simply serve to ensure a constant flow of production.
To skip a deadline is an instant inspiration killer as it causes unnecessary pressure of having too much to do. Furthermore, to skip a deadline doesn’t mean that the work doesn’t have to be completed. On the other hand, it might result in less future work, if you disappoint a client with delays. Just as any self-employed person, you have the full responsibility for the sustenance of your business. Make sure to represent it well, because happy and satisfied clients are naturally more inclined to come back.
Procrastination is always chasing you…
Despite a high level of self-discipline to prevent procrastination, inspiration may still be an issue. For me it helps to run! Running clears the head and makes me forget about time and space, which has an amazing effect of refuelling the mental batteries. During the past couple of weeks, Charles and I have been watching many of Casey Neistat’s videos. There is hardly a vlog that doesn’t involve running. I don’t claim that running is the answer, but I strongly believe that it has played a big part in his ability to remain highly productive.
Walking is a just as good option as running. Charles has told me that his way has always been going for long walks. His walks haven’t only generated his impressive knowledge about all streets and happenings in Paris (lucky me), but it also helped him deal with whatever was going on in his life and to refocus his energy to find the inspiration he needed. Walking, as opposed to running, also increases the chances of meeting new and interesting people. Nothing is as inspirational as random and unplanned meetings with others. Every encounter brings new perspectives and ideas, which might just be what you as a creator need to make a new artwork.
“Move your ass and your mind will follow”
Another strategy to deal with inspiration drought is to start doing something completely different from the task you actually have to do. Just the act of doing something, regardless of what it might be, sets you in the productive mood. Jana Söderberg once said to me “Move your ass and your mind will follow”, which has stuck with me ever since. To go out for a run, take a walk, do something random or even take the car or bus and just go somewhere are all things that make you move your ass and change thinking pattern.
During my psychology courses we studied how the brain creates patterns in according to our thoughts. If you let yourself procrastinate, you will have an increasingly harder time to regain control of your productive willpower as your brain has created “procrastination-cues”. It may sound bizarre, but this is also why a generally positive mindset makes it easier to return to positive thinking in case of negative disruption.
Based on these facts, I wonder if inspiration and creativity also create thinking patterns… Inspiration oftentimes boils down to taking control of your thoughts and thereby your actions. Don’t just think that you will produce – DO IT. To constantly and continuously produce is key in any profession if you want to be successful and boost your inspiration. A high level of productivity generate greater chances for new opportunities that can inspire you!
But what is actually inspiration?
I had an interesting discussion with a friend a couple of weeks ago, who believes that inspiration comes from within. This was a new perspective for me, which made me inspired to develop the idea further. I came to the conclusion that I think inspiration comes from an external input but which is transformed into creativity and productivity within. Meeting Faith serves as a concrete example, where our discussion was the external input that made me want to produce. This is also why “moving your ass”, as mentioned above, is central to boost your inspiration. Inspiration in itself doesn’t produce anything concrete, but it has the power to increase an individual’s creativity and productivity.