I spend all of my time thinking about how I’ll spend my time.
It sounds silly to say, I know, but it’s true. It’s as though I’ve somehow developed a habit of tricking myself into believing that thinking about how to be more creative will somehow magically make it so. And I think this is a trap many of us tend to fall into: the trap of inspiration.
Inspiration is a way to feel productive without actually producing anything. It’s a dangerous myth we’ve been led to believe.
Believing that what we need in order to write that book we’ve been meaning to write, or to launch that new career, or to start racing toward our dream.s.. all we need is the right inspiration. Or plan. Or spark.
We end up spending so much time merely thinking and worrying that we never get around to actually doing anything. We tell ourselves we’re simply not inspired, when the reality is we’re not inspired because we’re not doing the work.
The only way to write a book is, of course, to sit down and write. The only way to have creative ideas is to try experimenting with many different ideas, some of which may stop you in your tracks and make you wish you could sit around and wait until everything is right, rather than facing the possibility of embarrassment, or failure, or whatever.
The truth is that sometimes you do need to sit around and wait. I do need to spend some amount of my time thinking about how I want to spend my time. Because that’s how ideas incubate and how energy is conserved for the next push of momentum.
But if you wait around long enough, if you wait until everything feels just right, you’re going to wake up one day and realize that you’re out of time.
The best inspiration is the inspiration you get when you’re out seeking it, not when you’re sitting by idly hoping it will come to you.
Why? Because what you discover from doing the work—from putting the words on the page, the hammer to the wood, the sweat into the air—is something everyone else, those waiting for inspiration to maybe strike, are incapable of experiencing.
You can’t really know what you’re getting into until you get into it. The same goes for inspiration. You can’t experience it unless you go to where it lies.
Your best work is ahead. You can either push forward through the crud to get there, or postpone and hope. Which type are you?