Not Not in The Mood
My favorite artist is Chuck Close. He paints these amazingly photorealistic portraits of the people in his life. Each one is gridded out from a small photograph and meticulously painted one color at a time, like a screen printer but by hand with a brush. Not only that, but Chuck Close is paralyzed. In his 40s he suffered a spinal artery collapse and became confined to a wheelchair. While his work style and process may have changed, his work ethic has not.
He says, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and work.”
I think if anyone were going to teach us about work ethic, it’s him. Austin Kleon talks about the habit of work and Chris Guillebeau talks about writing a page a day, so by the end of the year you basically have a book. Work, especially creative work, is not about doing it when the time comes or about inspiration and it’s definitely not about being in the mood. Doing work is making a habit out of it and just showing up every day, even if your contribution for that day is small.
The work doesn’t care if you’re in the mood to put the effort in, but like Elizabeth Gilbert has said, if you show up, your muse or genius will do its part and show up to. The work is called that because it takes effort. Putting in the work means forming habits to push through blocks, because they will happen. Making work is about doing work, putting in work and showing up to do the work. Whether you’re in the mood or not.
Keep Going: Elizabeth Gilbert, Your Creative Genius