Johan Marais-Piper


Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work. — Chuck Close, painter

I’ve said this before, but for those who missed it, I’m a creator. But the thing is I seldom create without a great deal of anguish. So, for people like me quotes like Chuck Close’s are a great reminder to just get up and get on with it. Yeah! Fuck inspiration!

Motivation is a double-edged sword. A great dopamine hit, but usually for me the inspiration is short-lived and the novelty wears off. Many a night I’ve sat myself at the desk ready for greatness to flow through me, sparked by some kind of inspiration, before freezing stiff at the sight of the blinking cursor. Nek minnit, it’s past my bedtime and I’m scrolling through Instagram.

Life is like a box of chocolates, and so are motivational quotes. It’s full of empty calories.

But it’s not like I don’t want to create! OK Google, how do I get started?” … I’m sorry, I can’t help with that. Dammit. What should I do when I’m at the precipice of creation and don’t have anything to say. What if the only thing I can come up with is garbage. The world is polluted enough as it is. But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? Is… is that, a catchy pop tune with a metaphor for me?

Can you meet me halfway, right at the borderline
Is where I’m gonna wait, for you
I’ll be looking out, night n’ day…
— Black Eyed Peas, singing about where I can find my inspiration

So there it is, Black Eyed Peas with the answer to the universe’s great question on creation. Make the first move. A little bit like getting your first kiss, the creative process is a leap of faith and I just have to lean in. Like, reaaally lean in (in my case) and commit to the make-out session, no matter how awkward.

That means writing straight garbage for 15 minutes until inspiration strikes. Like,  gobbledegook until I achieve some kind of flow. Suck it up and get on with it. No-one’s watching anyway, so may as well get into the groove. It’s a decent mantra and has helped me break through some pretty lame excuses these last few weeks. I’m writing now, for the first time in years. It feels great.

Maybe I needed to commit to writing daily. Maybe I needed to get over myself. Maybe I expected it to be easy. Man, I was wrong. It’s still a punish, but after time the process becomes the reward. Admittedly I’m not there yet but I have faith.

Using Format