September 24, 2020

Review with Nash

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Dedication vs Inspiration

Dedication vs Inspiration

For some time, I have taken up photography as a hobby. I have no real desire to be anything other than a hobbyist because photography is not something that would ever consider quitting my day job for. Of course, I am excited by the proficiency of photography and the fact that it allows one to show pictures without having to go to the trouble of writing them. But then that’s as far as it goes. I enjoy taking less traditional self-portraits; like a knee or an elbow or a hand. But the lesson is dedication and inspiration.

It’s a weird activity for a person like me to try anyway because I’m not all that interested in myself as a subject. I do it anyway because I always really want to challenge myself to do something, one moderately simple thing, and see it through to completion. I love to write about things. 

But then I don’t always feel like writing. Sometimes all I just want to do is watch TV. But even when I don’t feel like writing, I still make myself write anyway. Not always, but occasionally, those articles end up being more interesting than the ones I felt like writing. So it goes.

Writing has always been my life-long love, and something I have been good at, and struggled with, and enjoyed, hated, did, didn’t do, etc., etc. I sometimes used to approach writing like it was this magical thing that would happen when the moment was right or when the stars aligned perfectly or when I had something to say. But it turns out that it doesn’t have to be like that.

Writing does take dedication. Inspiration is all very well, and right, and I am not tearing it down. But there are days when I don’t want to write anything, yet I do end up writing anyway. It isn’t always right, it isn’t always the best, but it is written. And what is already written can be edited. 

It can be worked with until it’s better. But the stuff that is not written because I’m so busy waiting for the moment to be right, that stuff never become anything. The point is that through forcing myself to apply dedication to any separate hobbies, like photography, I have become a more productive writer as well.

Creativity means creating. Just showing up and doing the job. Despite its drudgery, despite the days when it doesn’t feel inspiring or exciting at all; the only thing that keeps it going is sheer determination. Any project is truly an incentive of doing something daily and producing a product that can be consumed. 

I now think of writing as building a house or something. The process of making all the parts fit while also making those parts enjoyable. In the midst of this, I still feel the magic. I don’t have to force it – it just comes.

A vital tip someone once gave me (wish I could remember who) is this: What some people call “writer’s block” is just a natural part of the process. It’s called resting. I leave it alone for a few days and come back to it. 

Sometimes, I think of really great ideas when I’m not trying to write, like when you are working hard to remember something, and finally, when you quit trying, it comes to you. Think about dedication then think about inspiration. But do something.

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