09.15.18 Disciple versus Inspiration

I'm laying restless in bed thinking about how frustrating it is to have such an abundance of inspiration, but to suffer the inability to efficiently channel that energy in most cases into anything equivocally significant. It would seem that inspiration is a lot like horsepower... you get these periods where you are so flooded with inspiration but anything over a certain amount just means you can burn a new set of rubber tires down to the rim a little bit quicker. So much of that power never gets traction in order to translate into real movement in time and space, though it does feel ecstatic at times to make a lot of noise and smoke, this does little to further us along the path. This is where discipline is superior. 

I remember in art school a professor of mine who worked in the comics field told me of a time when Jim Lee, famed artist and director of DC comics was asked weather he required inspiration to work? To this question he replied with something to the effect of 'yes if course I require inspiration to work. Luckily for me inspiration comes every morning at 8am, takes an hour lunch break around noon and then returns until 6 or 7pm every single day.' I later heard versions of this same quote and sentiment attributed to other, older artists throughout history and it seemed to be connected and a staple of what made someone 'a pro'.

I know a lot of extremely talented artists that lack not the stunning work or talent but the discipline that produces consistency enough to produce the factory like prolific output that comes from the same sort of mindstate that your average blue collar worker has when he puts his boots on before dawn each morning. It might not sound as sexy or exotic as most peoples expectations of what it's like to be a professional artist, likened to that of a blue collar job, but in reality it isn't cheapened at all. It is the romance and passion that we have at our core that neccicitates our need to cultivate blie-collar disciple, and to not rely on 'inspiration' as if our lives and careers were minimum wage summer jobs we used to get beer money while living in our parents basements. This might sound funny but this is exactly the pathetic and nieve way I find many people think that they can approach life, be it in turning our artistic endeavors into a career, or the way we approach our physical fitness each time we opt to skip training because we 'aren't feeling it today'. Think about how many men woke up this morning 'not feeling it today' and still they knotted their work boots and headed to jobs they hated! Because they rely on ritualistic discipline, not inspiration. Relying upon inspiration is too risky if you are trying to feed yourself or feed your family. Only training when you 'feel like it' is a great way to ensure you make little to no progress in your fitness goals. Discipline trumps Inspiration everytime. Cultivate the former daily, but cherish the later without relying on it or becoming attached. Every single thing in life is seasonal, and if you get too spoiled and drunk in summer to prepare for winter you will likely find that summer would have been your last. 92.