Inspiration is critical to the creative process, but it’s not a replacement for it.
I recently met a woman who admitted she spent all her spare time watching documentaries about famous people being creative, hoping to get inspired by their tales of taking action.
Which was an intelligent strategy for stoking the artistic fire, but unfortunately, that’s where the work ended. She never took initiative to launch anything herself. Meanwhile, she rationalized her time spent with the excuse that she was getting motivated.
Yet another example of procrastination in disguise. Peripheral activities that serve our thinking needs, but are really just dodges we use to avoid doing any real work. When the reality is, relying on the osmosis of other people’s desire won’t get our art made any faster. That’s like reading about pushups and expecting to get stronger.
Psychologists call this phenomenon substitution, whereby we do something that feels real in our mind, which convinces us that it’s real in the world. Like the aspiring artist who makes grandiose pronouncements about his creative goals, just so other people acknowledge his efforts and trick him into believing he’s actually done the work to accomplish them.
That’s not creating, that’s hiding.
If we want to get on with the real work of making real art in the real world, we need to create something from whole cloth. Something that’s ours. Something that shows people how we see life. Otherwise we’re just sitting around, getting inspired all day.
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That Guy with the Nametag
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