Inspiration is not a prerequisite for creativity. In fact, it confounds what making things is all about—a dedication to the craft. If you only work when you’re inspired, you’ll get nothing done. Inspiration doesn’t strike all day, nor should you have to build it up to get started.
Do the work
Inspiration can be a distraction. Seeking motivation becomes an excuse to avoid the hard work. Producing something original requires concentration and distance. Roger Smith is a watchmaker at Hodinkee on the remote Isle of Man, far away from Switzerland and Cupertino.
“The influences just aren’t around, and I can just get on with my days work and just make what I want to make.” — Roger W. Smith
In an interview with Benji B, Thom Yorke of Radiohead said he doesn’t listen to anything else while making an album—he’s completely engaged in the creative process. Focusing on producing his own music distances himself from the temptation of finding the next interesting sound.
Making is an accumulation of what you already know. If you have good taste, you should be able to pull from outside influences and recast them in your own style. Taste finds a way of making it into your craft.
A professional doesn’t need more fire in their belly to get to work. Rather, art is a discipline that flows with a creative habit. The question is: what are you going to do with all that inspiration? The short answer is to start before you’re ready.
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.” — Chuck Close