The Inspiration Fallacy

Jan 15, 2016 | Freelance, Inspiration

The Inspiration Fallacy

Everyday we go out into the world full of fancy cars, perfect packaging, sleek branding, captivating advertisements and we get inspired by the people who are making amazing things. We think to ourselves “Wow, these are amazing creators. If only I only had the inspiration, I could create that masterpiece I know I have inside me!”

The notion that in order to create something great, one must be struck by the perfect idea to justify the amount of work it would take to bring that idea to fruition, is false. The sooner you get that in your head, the sooner you can tackle the blank page and get on to creating your masterpiece.

Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.


Chuck Close American painter, printmaker & photographer

Not once have I ever been so convicted by an idea that after hours, days, weeks of work, I was able to perfectly manifest what I had created in my mind. It is through the creative process and the inevitable decision making that comes with it that the initial idea takes shape and evolves into something even greater.

If you are sitting at your desk waiting for inspiration to strike, you are doing it wrong. Creative minds do not turn off. Every time you step into the world (or even open a browser), a creative mind is absorbing information differently. It is dissecting elements that make something work. It is analyzing why it makes you feel the way you feel. It is looking for ways to improve what it is interacting with. Storing this information is the inspiration you will use and fall back on when working through the creative problem solving process and exploring different solutions.

It is through hard work, showing up every day and reworking the problem again and again that we are finally able to produce our best work. Inspiration is a fallacy. By showing up everyday, we are able to train our brains to flex creative muscles and get in the habit of creativity and productivity. Anomalies exist in nature, but the true artists and creatives are the ones who have suffered through failure and had the courage to keep creating. And the only way to train yourself to push through the inevitable wall is by showing up and trusting the process. Inspiration will never lead you to an original answer. It is the blood, sweat, and tears that get you to that successful solution. Once we determine and trust our creative process, inspiration can be a tool and fuel to throw on the fire. But waiting for inspiration to strike while staring at a blank page is like checking the mail for your best selling novel.

Show up everyday and get to work. The more work we do, the more we refine a process that can consistently deliver successful results. Keep observing while you are away from your creative space and use your inspiration as a spark, not a crutch.

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