What To Do Instead of Waiting for Inspiration to Strike
Many creative people I know spend a lot of time worrying that they’re not feeling inspired. They fret that maybe their muse has left them, wonder if they’re experiencing writer’s block, or start to think maybe they’re not cut out for this creative thing.
It’s a common thing that affects most of us at some point or another, and it absolutely sucks.
If you’re not interested in building a business, making money, or reaching specific creative and financial goals (publishing a book, winning an award, etc), you can wait for inspiration.
To everyone else…
You don’t have time for inspiration to strike.
Why? Because professional creators often have to make our thing even when inspiration is annoyingly quiet. Deadlines and goals don’t wait for the muse. So what should you do? Y’all know me…I’ve got a few suggestions.
Get Into a Habit
When you’re working on a deadline, you don’t have the luxury of waiting until you feel like writing or making your thing to start working. You have to sit down and do it. Sometimes that means you stare at a blank screen and sometimes you doodle on a piece of paper for a while. But sitting down and starting is the most important habit you can create for yourself.
Pick a time of day when you’re not at work, no one needs your attention, and the kids aren’t starving for food. You might have 10 minutes, or you might have an hour. Every day that you can (although not always every day of the week), make an appointment with yourself for that time. Sit down. Turn on the computer. Start.
Some of it will be shit. Sometimes the blinking cursor will mock you. But make the habit of getting started. Why? Because when your brain knows that this is the time you do your creative thing, it primes you to be ready to write and make. Plus professionals don’t have the luxury of working “whenever we want” most of the time. We work when the deadline draws near and the paycheck calls our name.
Make a To-Do List
There will be days when you can’t stand thinking about a new blog post or describing another characters hair color. That’s cool. It happens to all of us. That single creative endeavor isn’t the only thing you need to do. Your website probably needs to be updated. Social media always needs to be scheduled. You should probably organize all the ideas that you jotted down in your Notes app or on scrap paper.
Keep an on-going list of the things that need to be done. On those days when the words refuse to come or your brain is rebelling at the idea of doing more of the same thing, use your list. Something always needs to be done. Working on those administrative tasks can make you feel productive in other ways. And for those who hate doing admin work, it might be the inspiration you need to get back to your writing and creative work.
Most of the time, the reason we don’t feel “inspired” is based on fear. (No, this isn’t true 100 percent of the time, but it’s pretty fucking common.) We think we’re going to make something that’s total crap so we don’t write or produce our work at all. How do we fix that and make it go away? I don’t think you do. Instead, do this…
Create crap anyway.
It’s part habit-forming and part learning how to push through your fears. You can always edit later and no one has to see what you’re working on until you let them. In the middle of making absolute shit, you might be surprised at the inspiration that strikes. Or a thing you made yesterday that you thought sucked might look pretty damn good the next day.
And of course, editing is always your friend because let’s face it. Sometimes the crap we create really is crap.
Some of my biggest ideas hit me while I’m learning something new. It’s an old story…
Girl doesn’t want to work so girl fucks around on the internet. She happens to come across a useful article, podcast, or video about the work she’s procrastinating about. A new way of doing something or a different approach gives girl a lightbulb moment, and she gets to work. Sure, sometimes it’s on something other than the original project, but it’s work.
Okay, so maybe that’s just me. But it’s when I start checking out resources about writing, websites, podcasts, books, whatever that I get some of my next ideas. Plus, ideally, I’m learning how to be a better blogger or entrepreneur at the same time.
Yes, learning about your craft is productive and it “counts” as work — as long as the other work still gets done eventually, too. Look outside the sex blogging or adult brand world for educational resources. We can’t always do everything the vanilla business world can (I’m looking at you, Facebook ads) but many methods can and will work in a sex blogger world.
Go Through Your Notes
Have you been keeping notes of ideas as they come to you? If not, consider this your push to start doing that. Not everything you write down will get used as a future idea. But going through those notes might spark another idea or remind you of a thing you wanted to add to your latest project.
Those notes might be your next to-do list or remind you to reach out to someone you admire and want to work with online. Maybe they hold the key to your next book idea. At minimum, they should be a reminder that you’re full of ideas and things you want to do, even if you’re not feeling it right this second.
Why does it matter?
The thing that keeps us from becoming professional smutlancers isn’t the money we’re not earning or whether a pitch is accepted and published. It’s whether you sit down and get to work or wait for inspiration to hit. If the goal is to build something bigger than you that earns an income (even a small one), there is no waiting for inspiration.
You’ve got to sit down (or lay in bed!) and put the effort in. You can’t wait for someone to tell you to do it and hoping inspiration will strike will often put you behind schedule and make moving forward even harder. Even if you’re not feeling the specific task, be prepared to get to work in some way and you might be surprised at how often inspiration hits.
Got thoughts on this one? Questions? Feel free to comment below or talk to me on Twitter!
Have you learned something new, been inspired, or moved forward with your goals after visiting The Smutlancer?