Even though artists like to talk about what has inspired them to create, you cannot wait around for a magical muse to appear and reward you with inspiration.
Being an artist is not as glamorous as it sounds. You are not always going to be in a creative mood. You are not always going to have a good idea about what you should draw or write next. You are not always going to feel like you have any clue what you are doing.
The secret to creative success? Don’t think. Just do.
Stop waiting for inspiration to strike. Stop assuming you will come up with a brilliant idea if you wait long enough or read enough books or walk around the block enough times. Telling yourself you will create when the time is right is an excuse to procrastinate.
If you are going to make a living off your art, you have to work even when you are not inspired, even when you are feeling lazy, even when you feel like a hack.
You cannot keep waiting until tomorrow to start your next project. Pick up a pen and write. Pick up a brush and paint. Pick up a camera and shoot. Get lost in your art. Today. Right now.
As soon as you start working, you might be struck with an idea. Or you might not. You might have to scrap everything you worked on today — but it’s better to create something than nothing. Even if you don’t end up keeping what you worked on, you still worked. You still took steps to develop your talent.
Even though you want your art to come out perfectly, you cannot let yourself overthink what you should create. Take action. Be productive. Get work done. You don’t have to write a perfect first draft or paint a perfect portrait. You can edit later. You can make improvements later. You can redo your initial attempt later.
Right now, all you have to do is get to work. Don’t think too hard about what you are doing. Don’t let your mind wander. Don’t start questioning whether your art is good enough to be published or whether your art has any significance. Just work.
The secret to creative success is a lot less complicated than you might think. You don’t have to embark on a spiritual journey. You don’t have to become a starving artist who lives on the streets. You don’t have to sacrifice all of your earthly possessions or have your heart broken.
All you have to do is act. Put in the effort. Put in the hours. Put in the work.
You are not going to see results unless you make an effort. Think of it this way: You are never going to get fit if you keep coming up with excuses to skip the gym. It’s the same with your art. You are never going to reach success if you keep coming up with excuses to start your newest project tomorrow.
You have to stop assuming you need some brilliant idea in order to get started. You don’t need to know what you are getting yourself into ahead of time. You don’t have to have every step planned. You will figure out what you are doing along the way — but you will never figure it out if you never get started.
It doesn’t matter if you are in the mood to create right now. Create anyway. Create even when you feel like nothing good is going to come from it. Create even when it’s the last thing you feel like doing.