Get to Work
I’ve been consuming a lot of Tim Ferriss knowledge/wisdom the last few months. On a hike over the summer my brother told me about a podcast in which *Tim Ferriss interviews the world’s most successful ________ (i.e. entertainers, athletes, investors, etc.) to get into their mindset and the minutiae of their daily habits and philosophies. It’s fascinating stuff. I can’t believe I wasn’t aware of his work earlier.
I bought my brother a copy of his latest book, Tools of Titans, a hefty tome of distilled wisdom of all his 200+ interviews. I tried to speedread it in the four days leading up to Christmas, which was unsuccessful. So after Christmas, I bought myself a copy. As I read in front of a roaring fire last night, a nugget stood out to me from the musician Justin Boreta:
“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us show up and get to work. (I believe) that things will grow out of the activity itself and you will – through work – bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great “art idea.’”
Stephen King has a similar idea. King talks about writers waiting for their muse before they write inspired literature. But he finds his muse waiting for him at his desk, at 9 am, every day.
This idea has meant a lot to me over the last year as I have been growing in my freelance work. It can be difficult to go into the office sometimes. As someone who works in a creative field, it can be tempting to only work when I find inspiration.
Yet most artists who have had enduring careers think that waiting around for inspiration in a bunch of bull honky. You make your inspiration by working. The hard work comes first.
I am still young in my career. I’ve only been full-time freelancing for two years now. So this message is directed squarely at myself.
Get to work.
*The link is to one of my favorite Tim Ferriss podcasts. He interviews Derek Sivers, who has worked as a professional musician, a circus clown, and sold the company he built (CD Baby) for millions of dollars.