Discipline and Foundations are What You Build On (Because You Can’t Build On Nothing)

Rudolf Nureyev

“Technique is what you fall back on when you run out of inspiration.” – Rudolf Nureyev, Born Mar. 17, 1938.

“I don't have a good idea.”

Shut up. Write anyway.

“I don't have anything to say.”

Stop it. Write something anyway.

“It didn't come out the way I wanted.”

Fuck you, publish it anyway.

We aren't artists. We are hacks. If someone is going to find artistry in our work, let them find it like a fine gem among rough stones. You're not going to shit out ONLY diamonds. No one does.

You have to have the technique down, so you can grind out those rough stones when your brain doesn't have a diamond on deck.

Because your audience needs to be fed. Your clients have deadlines. You have a career to build. You can't be waiting on the muses to get their shit together.

So how? How does one develop the ability to write anywhere, any time, about anything?

Practice. Pick something random and write about it. Commentate upon it. Love it. Hate it. Revel in its details. Compare it to something else. Contrast it with something else. Do whatever. It doesn't matter.

As an exercise, it's about getting exercise. Get the technique down, so that when inspiration is being a fickle bitch, you're not getting the blank page blues.

For example, and I'm just brainstorming here – look up a famous person whose birthday is today, quote them, and then write about that.

What are your techniques for working without inspiration?

If your answer is a shrug, that's all anyone will ever say about you when asked about your work.

Shrug.

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