Waiting for Inspiration

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. – Jack London

abandoned houseRecently a new writing coaching client emailed me to say, “I haven’t been writing. I just don’t feel inspired.” I immediately shot a message back explaining that “You can”t wait for inspiration. If you get nothing else out of our coaching together beyond this awareness it will make a huge difference in your creative life.”

No writer or other artist waits for inspiration before showing up. Painter Chuck Close said, “inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.” Flannery O’Connor, the noted Southern writer, described her habit of going to her office everyday from 8am to noon, “she wasn’t sure if anything was going to happen but she wanted to be there if it did.”

Most writers just start writing and find inspiration along the way. John Steinbeck would always end one day’s writing in the middle of the page, so he could pick up the thread the next day. He insisted that “In writing, habit seems to be a much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration.”

Current research in the neuroscience of the brain shows that creativity is activated when we are in the brain wave states of alpha and theta which are associated with meditation, intuition and information beyond our conscious awareness. This is why a writer often needs to write a page of what feels uninspired in order slow the mind down and hit the zone.

This is true of all acts of creativity. We have to show up and begin to play with the process to access the place of inspiration. The more we commit to our creativity through our intentions and actions the more our creativity flows and the more juiced, excited and inspired we feel.

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