“Amateurs wait for inspiration…the rest of us just get to work” -Stephen King.
As the literary genius who kept my 9 year old self up all night after reading chapters of The Shining and pondering the hideous and horrible clown in IT, Stephen King’s words mean something to me. In fact, I’ve always loved his idea that “You should never come lightly to the blank page”. So, it’s interesting to see that he doesn’t “wait around” for inspiration.
King’ s words go to show that even people we consider to be “the successful ones” are usually regular people who work hard to achieve their dreams. Do they have talent? Sure! Don’t we all have a talent, though? I believe success is about finding out what our talents and passion are. Then, it’s about working hard towards making a life full of them.
Waiting For Inspiration
So, do you wait to be “inspired” to start a project, or do you just dive right in? Usually, I’m all for diving right in. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think inspiration is important. In fact, The Teaching Cove exists because I was inspired to create a visually appealing, easy to use website where teachers could find free English teaching resources, motivational tips and organizational hacks.
(Hey, by the way, you have access to my free printables library, right? If not, click the button below and you’ll have access to all my Motivational Monday posters, English teaching resources, and more!)
If I had waited until I had the perfect inspiration, and the perfect plan to put my blog into place, I definitely wouldn’t even be as far as I am today.
So, I believe you need to be passionate about your work in the long run. However, don’t let little bumps in the road become huge pauses in your work where you wait for that “spark” to come back. Of course, my biggest example is always my PhD – sometimes it takes so much effort to push myself through the less inspired times, but the end goal is always in sight.
Need helping visualizing the end goal? Check out my post on visualization here.
Getting Down To It
So, what are my tips for “getting down to it” and getting to work when you’re having a not-so-inspired day? Well, other than visualizing the end goal, which I know I talk about a lot, here are three tips:
- Remember why you started – Sometimes, it’s easy to forget why you started a project when you hit a hurdle. Make a list of all the reasons your started. Then, add reasons you believe your project will be valuable when it’s finished. Soon, it’ll look like a path to success!
- Breathe. Now, I cringe as they say this one, as I know it’s one of the ones I’m worst at. In fact, my martial arts instructor at my old martial arts school in Edmonton, Canada (now called Freestyle) always reminded me that I forget to breathe. “Breathing is key, even when you’re in the middle of a fight, and that works outside of MMA, too.” So, I do my best to take deep breaths and remember that obstacles are not the end of the world.
- Say “no” to low priorities. – More on that below!
So, one of the best parts (difficult parts at times?) of living in Barcelona is how incredibly gorgeous the weather is, how lively the city is, and how social the people are. Now, wait a minute – those are all great, right? Well, that’s only true when you don’t have to work or aren’t feeling inspired! In fact, this past week I had to say ‘no’ to 5 invitations to hang out, simply because I had to finish work for my PhD, which was falling behind.
Now, don’t read that wrong. I’ve never been “one of the popular kids”, so this hasn’t been a problem in the past, but I’ll tell you that Spain has a super social atmosphere. Also, “meeting someone for coffee” or dinner usually turns into a four or five hour hang out session.
Here are some tips on ‘saying no’:
- Make a Google Calendar in which “work” time scheduled in red, so you can’t move it. (If you missed my post on using Google Calendar to stop being overwhelmed, read it!)
- Schedule in small breaks – Even on your “work” days, you need to take breaks! The gym is an excellent place to let out frustrated energy (and gain some positive energy back). Taking a walk and having coffee with a friend, or walking your dog work wonders, too.
- Have some fun scheduled in, too! – Yes, I schedule everything. Of course, that includes fun time with my friends, girls’ weekend trips, wine and pizza nights, and chocolate cake once in a while. This way, when I look at my calendar, it’s not only a collage of work. It includes fun, too!
Well, that’s my short and sweet response to Stephen King’s take on productivity. What’s your opinion on being inspired and work? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below (Yes, really – I respond to every one!).
Have a lovely and productive Monday!
P.S. Photography fans, the photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took in Valencia, Spain in June 2016.
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