As my little illustration attempts to explain is that we should try to minimize the time we search for inspiration and maximize your heads down time. The thing is its really easy to get trapped searching for answers and hoping to be inspired to do work. I’ve written about this before — the consumption whore problem.
Of course you will want to oscillate between the two and consuming information is really important, but turns out you find the answer you are searching for often enough by just doing the work. You really don’t need much time to be inspired.
Merlin Mann has a great video where he explains this problem in great detail, which I found insightful and entertaining. To Merlin the reason why we are always looking for information, answers and inspiration is because we don’t know who we are.
We need someone to tell us what to do next. And we all know there are plenty of people/companies/entities out there that are more than willing to tell us what is wrong with us.
I watch this video frequently but still not enough. If you are doubting yourself right now and your ability to make something good (let alone great), I think this video is just the ticket, regardless of your creative pursuits.
“…good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”
Even though King is referring to story ideas, I believe this statement can be applied to all ideas.
Trying to dream up the next big thing is often a waste of effort. Inspiration is random so don’t worry about having good ideas, worry about executing on those ideas when you do get them.