The best piece of professional advise I every received was this:

An amateur waits for inspiration. A professional gets up every day and goes to work. 

I think about it often, and what it implies. An amateur might be a genius. A flash of inspiration might mean he makes something amazing. If you compare and contrast to the uninspired doodles this amateur does waiting for inspiration to the amazing works they do under muse’s goading, you are probably looking at doodles with a scale of 2 (out of 10), and when they are suddenly inspired, their works are a 6. Pretty impressive jump, right? 

But look at the Professional. That graphic artist who “sold out” and makes logos for Coca Cola. They’re paid good money. And every day they go to work to grind out their art. Practicing their craft. Honing it. Strengthening it. Slowly but surely increasing their baseline level of quality to a 4, or even a 5. Again, this is impressive. Their baseline is a 5. And they get paid for it! Then, inspiration strikes. And that professional suddenly jumps by the same value that the Amateur did. The Professional looks down and has created a work of art bordering on a 9 or 10. That professional’s body of work has been leading to this point. They ride that wave. They maintain that inspiration for longer. They don’t wear out the way the amateur did. And all because they got up every morning and went to work. 

As artists (which as writers, that’s what we are,) we will always struggle to find time to work. Even professional authors have this trouble. But what is the secret? Showing up. You will not find time to write. You have to make the time. You might say “but I just can’t. I have too much going on.” That’s fine. That is your priority right now. But if you want writing to be a priority, then you need to make the time. You need to choose to go down into your Workshop, and write. There is only one person that can make that happen. You. 

Take your time working through the building your workshop. And then go down and work in it. I’ll leave you now with my own “trite” bit of advice, from the philosopher Shia LaBouf. “Just Do IT!”

Written by Andrew