F*ck Inspiration

Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get the work done. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you’re not going to make an awful lot of work. – Chuck Close

I’ll share with you one of the most influential paradigm shifts / biggest breakthroughs for productivity (in all areas of my life) in recent years:

Don’t “wait for inspiration” to strike before you start working,

You get inspired by working.

Somehow this seems counter-intuitive. “Wait, shouldn’t I wait till I feel like writing music or creating a mix before I get started?” Simply put, no. Too often we wait idly for lighting to strike before we fire up our sequencer or tables. Of course, when an idea pops into your head, yes run (don’t walk) as fast as you can to get it down tangibly while your juices are flowing. I remember Max Ulis saying at his Producer’s Forum in Vancouver: Do whatever it takes to produce when creativity strikes. But what if you’re not feeling it? Do it anyways.

Honestly? How many great projects or works of art have taken place with no momentum whatsoever? It seems simple, but just going through the motions, regardless of how creative you feel, often provides the spark you needed to get the ball rolling. Here’s just a few ideas for going through the motions, even if you aren’t feeling particularly creative.

  • Going through tutorials (online or in books)
  • Revisiting old projects or tracks in progress
  • Spending time jamming with friends or throwing out ideas
  • Create patches or templates for instruments instead of building tracks
  • Sample, sample, sample whatever you can get your hands on when not writing.

Yes, it’s impossible to force creativity some times, but many times you just might anyways. Or at least, get something productive done in the meanwhile (see above list). Here’s a short list of ideas if you feel stuck.

While by no means am I the most prolific artist, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten incredibly stoked from just producing or practicing even when I didn’t feel like it at first. We’ve all experienced it at some point. Maybe I’m not so into practicing when I first start, but the right combination of tracks just sets me off and sends me in a whole new direction with a set. Yes inspiration is incredibly valuable, but you certainly can’t bank on it. Nike hit the nail on the head. Just do it.

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