On Inspiration & Discipline

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An professor of mine in college once told me that my greatest asset as an artist was my discipline; that I could do anything I wanted because I was disciplined. 

At the time, I was dissatisfied with what she saw as my strength. I wanted to be told I was "creative", "passionate", or "imaginative" -- the words that people associate with artists. I saw the raw talent I thought I lacked in my classmates and questioned whether a creative career was for me at all.

I seriously entertained the idea of law school or grad programs in History. Hell, I even went through corporate recruiting (this blog could have been about my life as an i-banker!). But something kept me from calling quits on this whole "art thing."

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Years later, my professor's remark remains with me.

Working full-time as an in-house designer, I sometimes can't help but feel stuck, uninspired -- stifled under the pressure I put on myself to put out great work day after day. There are times when I want to crawl under the covers, tell the world my creative juices have dried up, and call it a day. 

But instead I make myself show up, try to do the work, and trust that the process of doing the work will lead to a breakthrough. The breakthrough might take time, and be so small that nobody else notices, but I notice, and I understand what my professor was trying to tell me all those years ago.

My discipline has yet to fail me. 

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So, when friends ask me how to fight a creative funk, all I've got as far as advice goes is to start doing the work and believe that the process will take you to the next step. I wish I had some secret, a list of "10 Things to Do when You're in a Creative Rut", something better than just "do it," but that's the only thing that's worked for me 

So I want to ask all you creatives out there: What do you do when you find yourself in a rut or feeling uninspired? What works for you? Any advice you have to share?