Before I dive into the concept of inspiration, let me introduce myself.
My name is Melissa Steginus, and I am a writer. I’ve written for a long time, but I’ve only recently started calling myself a writer.
Why? Because I feel I’ve earned the title for myself. I’ve worked for it. I write often. I write consistently. I write when I feel like writing. And most importantly (and most often), I write when I don’t feel like writing.
If I only wrote when I felt inspired to, I wouldn’t be able to call myself a writer, because I would rarely write.
If you only went to your job when you felt inspired to, how often would you show up? Sure, you’d probably do your job well when you did show up, but how long would it take for your boss to realize your extended absence?
What if you used this excuse in other contexts?
“I can’t clean the house today. I don’t feel like it.”
“I couldn’t pick you up from school today, because I wasn’t in the zone to get in my car.”
No dice. We don’t wait for inspiration to get things done.
Or do we?
“I wanted to follow my dream, but I couldn’t find the right opportunity.”
“I didn’t achieve my goals, because I didn’t follow through.”
Do either of those sound familiar?
In the words of Classical Composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, “A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.”
You too are an artist. Your work—in whatever its form—is your creation.
Are your hands folded?
If so, I have some (unfortunate) news for you:
Inspiration is rooted in work.
You wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve heard people say they want to write a book or start a blog, but they “can’t write” because they “can’t get in the zone.”
I don’t know what “zone” these people think other writers magically transport themselves into, but I’m here to tell you that writing something doesn’t come from being “in the zone.” It comes from writing.
In describing his writing process, Ernest Hemingway said, “When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after the first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cold and you warm as you write.”
The key is to start. You’ll warm up as you go.
In the words of writer and activist, Maya Angelou, “Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it.”
Waiting until the “right” moment, feeling, or mindset is nothing but procrastination. Maybe it’s due to fear, self-doubt, or uncertainty. Maybe you’re waiting for someone to jump on board or the right opportunity to fly by.
Whatever the reason, waiting doesn’t make things happen—doing does.
Even the tiniest step is a move in the right direction. Marathon runners don’t start with long strides. That comes with momentum.
Start small and stay consistent. Do the work and the inspiration will come.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” –Pablo Picasso
Melissa Steginus is a mindfulness teacher and productivity coach helping people structure their work and lives to be intentional, empowering, and fulfilling. With a background in social work and over a decade of experience as a counsellor, coach, yoga instructor, and world traveller, Melissa has helped thousands of people transform their personal and professional lives through her workshops, classes, online courses, and individual sessions. Now living blissfully on the west coast of Canada, Melissa develops and teaches workshops on mindfulness and stress reduction for clinicians, entrepreneurs, and students of all ages.