Not every day is inspirational and not every work is inspired

This month I’m participating in an artist residence program. It’s my first experience like this, and I’m surrounded by trees and beauty and very talented creative people. When I first arrived, I was intimidated. Listening to the other artists’ stories and experiences and seeing their work made me feel like the outsider. I never went to art school, I’m a social worker, I’ve been living in Nepal, I’m a writer.

Determined, I pushed past my insecurities to focus on my work. I came with a goal in mind: it doesn’t have to be amazing, it doesn’t even have to be good, but I want to leave here with a solid first draft.

Most days feel like slogging through a forest. I’ve had moments of brilliance and inspiration, but more days have been clouded in despair and frustration. I decided it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if I think it’s a good story or whether it IS a good story. My work is to simply show up, put in time, and keep going.

If you sit around waiting for moments of inspiration and creative spark, you might be waiting a long time. I want to tell you to fight through it. Fight through the urge and don’t sell yourself short. You deserve to create. No matter your background or experience, make something. Build something. Dream something.

(And if you need more encouragement, check out Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic.)