I’ve heard if you wait around for inspiration, you may be waiting a long time. As Jack London said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” You have to be your own master and yes, put in the hard work.
This short snip from a letter Vincent Van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo, in October of 1883, might be the best piece of advice that any working or aspiring artist could receive. And it most likely applies to any other field of endeavor.
I can’t speak for the experience of most artists but, concerning my own work and abilities, I travel through an internal landscape with soaring peaks of great confidence that often plummet into deep valleys of doubt. One moment and I am high on a peak with a seemingly endless view that shows me all sorts of ways forwards. But in the bat of an eye I find myself in a deep and dark ravine with no indications of any path on which I can climb out.
I begin to doubt my abilities, begin to wonder if I have been the fool in thinking myself an artist…
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