Chuck Close’s Advice On Inspiration And Getting Things Done

Chuck Close’s Advice On Inspiration And Getting Things Done

The magic of productivity is really to just get started. You may know that already, but the reverse of that message — to wait for inspiration to strike before you really do something — keeps us from doing great work, says artist and photographer Chuck Close.

Photo by Dmitry Kalinin.

Swissmiss posted this quote, which I couldn’t possibly abbreviate, but the emphasis in it is mine:

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.

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 do an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.

Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.

Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.

Suffice to say that inspiration is always nice when it strikes, but you can — and probably already do — live without it. You likely do great work without having to wait around for inspiration to strike, or that perfect “eureka!” moment to hit you when you realise the best possible way to tackle a problem at work. You just come in every day and tackle your job to the best of your ability (and energy level on a given day.) If that sounds about right, you’re already doing your job and doing great work — and giving that inspiration the opportunity to manifest when it does come. Don’t make it a prerequisite.

Get To Work [Swissmiss]

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