Wednesday, March 09, 2011


We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.
- Frank Tibolt

I often grab one of these little quotes that slide into my mailbox every day and print it and study it and maybe spend a bit of time with it.

Like today's. I often say: I'll wait till the notion takes me, which is something my granny, my own personal hero, would say. I loved her casual approach to life and its necessities and requirements. Enormous fun for a child to be around. But not so much fun when you're an adult and waiting for the whatevers to strike.

They don't is my conclusion. Or rarely do.

I find that the action does precede the creative thought, the light bulb going off is nearly always preceded by the effort of getting up and going to the switch on the wall and actually flipping it.

I find the best writing or photographing or knitting I do is when I take the time to doodle around first. To play with a sentence, to take my hands and frame out a shot. To troll through a host of old knitting patterns and actually knit a swatch. To actually do the legwork, the painstaking setups.

I remember getting into some walking a long time ago. It started by walking 10 minutes around the block in the dead of night. Then into some long range walking on the weekends. I never could have even imagined where it would eventually take me: marathon running. I would have laughed at anyone who would have even suggested it.

Action steps are all important for it is all in the journey. The destination is never that important. But it is such a mind blower when it turns out to be something of a blind-siding gobsmack.

Tiny first steps, yeah?


  1. I love this post, WWW and I love the photo that accompanies it. Very inspiring, indeed....I'm glad I took the action of reading it :-)

  2. I find when I want to begin a new craft project that I fiddle and flap about, sometimes for days on end and then suddenly settle like a butterfly on a buddleia bush and work calmly until the work is complete.

  3. If I wait for inspiration, I find that I never get anything accomplished. It's the story of my life right now. That's why this post is so appropriate. Thanks for writing it.

  4. I think it's a little of both. Some of the most frustrating times I've had are when I push doing something when I'm not ready. However, maybe the pushing leads to the final breakthrough. I call this frustrating time "wandering the wilderness" as I look for inspiration or maybe just an idea. I'm going through that now.

  5. It works both ways for me. Sometimes I just have an idea or image which straightaway germinates into something bigger. Sometimes I'm ruminating for days before some thought turns into an idea I can develop. And that's where the real work starts. As Thomas Edison said, "Success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration."

  6. Good quote - and your related thoughts WWW.

    When inspiration is slow to come, even for something as mundane as a blog post, I often go to Wordpad and just start typing the first thing that comes into my mind.
    Then I'll wait a while, and quite often what I've written turns out to be useful in relation to some current story or a new idea.

    Showing up - the same thing in a smaller way - showing up in the universe by DOING.

  7. I find myself agreeing with the "some of each" folks. Sometimes I'm blind-sided with a thought that seems original (or at the very least original to me), other times I can't settle on anything in particular. At those times I read. Something someone else has said is sure to blind-side me eventually.

  8. I think you are quite right about waiting to be inspired. If I waited for that I might wait forever. Hell, I'm lucky if the light turns on when I do get up and flick the switch.

  9. Inspiration is something which comes at us from many different angles - sometimes it's the working at the knot for hours until you find that loose bit and the whole thing comes open, other times, your brain picks up so many things and merges them without you realising it until it pings into the inspiration.
    (for a fantastic example of this, take a look at this clip of Derren Brown playing with a couple of advertisers...

  10. I fear you are right. There is no substitute for hard work. 'And failing to plan is planning to fail' as the old maxim goes. However I can procrastinate until the cows come home so I am careful not to indulge in too much pre-amble when working myself up to accomplishing something. Or chances are, it won't get done at all!

  11. "Sitting silently, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself."
    ~Zen saying.

  12. I'm firmly believe there's no such thing as writer's block, merely a temporary lack of enthusiasm to write something.

    For me, the enthusiasm for doing anything only comes once I've started it, so getting going is inevitably the hardest part. If I waited for inspiration I'd never get out of bed.

    Jo's YouTube link is quite fascinating.

  13. Your comment about starting out with a walk around the block and ending up a marathon runner reminded me of the quote often attributed to Lao-tzu, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Making that first step can be such a difficult challenge sometimes when all we see is the enormity of the journey. I often think of a former student who hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine all by himself at age 19 when his hiking buddy pulled out on the second day. He’s been an inspiration many times when I see the long road ahead.


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