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“Writing music is not so much inspiration as it is hard work” was what Gershwin used to remind his admirers, when they asked about his creative process. He just worked hard, composing music as if it’s a day job – nine to five, one hour lunch break, as I imagine. I think of him today, as I sit in front of an empty document, where I need to compose not music, but an article for work. Well I don’t have any inspiration now, I say to myself, do I, and I go get a cup of coffee, mindlessly browse some web pages, go on a walk, do the laundry and oh.my.God. I have only two hours before the deadline?! Is it really about inspiration, I ask myself, or is it more about perspiration?
There is a long list of very successful people who used to say that inspiration doesn’t really exist – that you just need to be disciplined, to show up every morning. And there is another list, just as long, of people who could work only on creative bursts of energy, as impossible to ignore as a fire in your living room would be.
I’m constantly trying to fit in one of those two groups – one week I favor the hard workers, next week I think that getting my heart on fire is essential, a priority. Well maybe I need to create a third group – those who are tired of trying to fit in and are now working however they please? No? Doesn’t have a ring to it, does it.
There is also the problem of timing. I obviously need to conform to some social rules – even if I have more energy in the evenings, it’s not easy finding an office that works this way. So if you want to work only on hard inspiration, it can be tough. And also, it’s so easy to lose and so difficult to find again – you receive one email from a friend, get distracted, poof – your inspiration is gone.
So maybe you swing the other way and you try to work on a schedule. But isn't that the moment your work starts losing a bit of its color and soul? Or am I just being romantic for the first time in a year? I don't know; maybe that's our problem, that we have a romantic idea about the whole thing. Maybe creative work is just work and you need to simply do it. What do you guys think, help me out?