The Biggest Mistake People Make With Their Creative Ideas

03/10/2015 09:19 am ET | Updated May 10, 2015


I get a common reaction when I tell people I'm a blogger:

"That's awesome. I wish I could start a blog!"

When I ask what's stopping them, they respond by saying they don't have enough inspiration to write consistently. They don't realize that as a creative, the biggest mistake you can make is relying on inspiration to follow through with your ideas.

You see, inspiration is a fickle beast. It graces you with its presence whenever it pleases, and then -- just as you start putting things in motion -- it runs off like a thief in the night. And that's why most people get stuck. They've ridden the roller coaster of inspiration and disappointment more times than they can count, but have no idea how to end the vicious cycle.

The truth is, I don't wake up every day and spill words onto the page. On the contrary, it's super tough for me to get started on a blog post most days. But over the years I've learned a simple yet invaluable strategy that's made me consistent with the work I put out: just fucking do it.

I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp. -- W. Somerset Maugham

Whether you realize it or not, you're competing every single day. Not with other artists or ideas, but your own resistance. Each day is a battle between the side of you that's full of creative spark, and the other side that's full of doubt, cynicism, and indolence. You don't win that battle by relying on short-lived inspiration; you win it by putting yourself on a deadline and demanding consistency of yourself.

Something beautiful happens when you sit down and do the work: creative energy tends to flow, new ideas make themselves known, and your mind begins to connect the dots between things it couldn't before. It's the universe's way of rewarding us for not taking the gift of our ideas for granted.

The bottom line is this: it doesn't matter what your craft is. Whatever you want to achieve, whether it's mastering your art, finding a job, starting your business, you name it -- don't wait for inspiration to strike. Make it a habit of sitting down to do the work, and watch the results come pouring in.

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