“Inspiration usually comes during work, not before it.”
Here’s something amazing: You can sit down to write and feel that you have nothing to say and decide that you’ll just say anything in order to have something to write — and something wonderful will pop out of you.
How does this happen? Why does it happen? I’m not sure that knowing how or why really matters. What matters is that you are showing up at the page ready and willing to work with it — no matter what. You’re willing to work whether nothing much comes out. You’re willing to work whether something great comes out. And you’re willing to work whether something really lame comes out.
The key here is being willing to work, no matter what. And suspending judgment about what comes out. That is, you don’t give yourself a hard time about it if your work day isn’t going well. You don’t attach either shame or blame to yourself as a writer even if you don’t like what you’ve written and feel it’s lousy.
When you have this nonjudgmental attitude toward yourself, when you treat yourself with compassion and kindheartedness because you are laboring to do something difficult, then you open the door for something exciting to happen, something wonderful and unexpected. And sometimes these gold nuggets emerge from our lowest moments — the ones where we feel that nothing is going right with our writing.
So let’s make demands on ourselves. Let’s be disciplined. Let’s show up. Let’s hold ourselves to a high standard. Let’s work hard to do the best job we know how right now. But let’s not be harsh or cruel to ourselves when thing don’t go well — any more than we would be to a friend who was having a tough time. When we treat ourselves with kindness, then we give the page the opportunity to treat us kindly as well. And let’s write on!