Stop trying to find inspiration. Work without it.

Spoiler: We didn’t feel particularly inspired before writing this.

If we all sat around waiting for a brilliant bit of inspiration to strike before we started on a creative project, we’d never get anything done — like, ever. Because contrary to what a lot of us think, work comes before inspiration. Often the excuse of “I’ll just work on that when I’m feeling more creative” is another way for us to procrastinate. Inspiration doesn’t come easy, so here are a few ways to get after it or do without it completely.

Just do it. Now. Right this second.

Not feeling creative at the moment? We’ve all been there and it sucks. But do it anyways. Decide to stop making excuses and start somewhere. You can do it because you’ve done it before. You most likely didn’t feel perfectly inspired before beginning your past projects either. Inspiration will find you sometime after you jump in headfirst because, like it or not, that’s how it works.

Talk it out.

If you can’t find motivation within, it’s OK to look for a little push from someone else. Tell someone what you’re doing so they can hold you accountable. Verbalize your plans so someone can confirm that you’re on the right track or ask someone you trust for ideas. Sometimes talking about your project is all you need to get some perspective.

Eliminate distractions.

Put your phone away and close all the tabs on your browser. Sure, reading some inspirational quotes or browsing through some beautiful landscape photos might trigger a spark of creativity. But it could also be a really great way of procrastinating — and chances are someone’s Facebook status isn’t going to give you the inspiration you’re looking for.

Lower your expectations.

Sometimes the pressure we put on ourselves to get things exactly right the first time can overwhelm us. So lower the expectations you have for yourself. Accept that what you create will probably be complete crap in the beginning. But don’t worry. Once you put in the work, it will get better. We promise.

Reward yourself.

Chances are that when you were younger, adults bribed you to do things by offering a reward for your good behavior. So take a cue from life and treat your lack of inspiration like a stubborn little kid. Reward yourself for making progress. Take a walk, buy a new toy, or eat some ice cream. It’s hard to force creativity, so treat yourself to something special to create some incentive.

What are some ways you’ve learned to work around inspiration? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. (Unless doing so is a way for you to procrastinate. If that’s the case, get back to work #WeBelieveInYou.)

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