A Waste of Time or a Lesson?

Wasting time comes in many guises. There’s time spent on “frivolous” activities like watching TV or playing games on your phone. There’s time spent on projects that don’t go as planned or have unexpected results (lace shawl I can’t seem to knit, I’m looking at you). There’s time spent mucking about when you are trying to create something new that results in nothing but a stack of awful sketches or pages of writing that you can’t actually use.

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Waiting for Inspiration? Spend the Time Practicing

There’s a belief that all the great artists are inspired, that what makes their work wonderful is a brilliant idea or new insight. But this is just a myth. A single moment of brilliance can be blinding to the rest of us, but there’s more to it than that. You can’t make use of inspiration if you don’t know how to use your medium. Great art comes from lots of work, which can be summed up in one word: practice.

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Doing The Thing Every Day — Gently

Creativity takes practice, which is why people say “You should write every day” (or draw or sculpt or dance or play the tuba every day). There’s an understandable emphasis on consistency, on showing up again and again to do the thing, whatever it is. On working steadily, even if it’s slowly, so that, like the tortoise, we can cross the finish line. Even creativity guru Julia Cameron says so.

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What Does Effective Persistence Look Like?

There’s lots of advice out there to persist, to keep trying, that no one gets anywhere without working regularly. Take … More What Does Effective Persistence Look Like?

What Held Tolkien Back: Perfectionism or Paper?

I recently came across an interesting diagram that shows various statistics about thirty famous books, including how long it took … More What Held Tolkien Back: Perfectionism or Paper?