When You’re Feeling Uninspired

When You're Feeling UninspiredI'm not feeling particularly inspired today.

I don't even want to write anything on this blog.

I've learned two vital lessons about what to do at times like these when I'm feeling uninspired.

And knowing the difference between the two has been essential to my being able to create and stay sane.

One is from Steven Pressfield, and the other is from Anne Lamott (via Ben Arment).

The first lesson is…

Fight through the Resistance

Author of The War of Art Steven Pressfield explains in his book that there is a force warring against your creativity.

It is called “Resistance,” and it wants to keep you from your destiny.

You need to get up every day, expecting resistance, and fight through it. You must ship.

You must to not simply wait for inspiration, but you have to do your part by showing up. It's up to the Muse to do the rest.

The second way to deal with lack of inspiration is…

Recognize the difference between “blocked” and empty

Anne Lamott posits that what we call “writer's block” may be something dramatically different.

When we're feeling uninspired, we may, in fact, be spiritually and emotionally empty.

If that's the case, the last course of action you'd want to pursue would be to simply push through the block. Because you're not blocked. You're empty. And you need to fill up.

You need to step away from your work and do something that recharges you, that leaves you feeling refreshed and inspired.

How to tell the difference

Depending on what's going on today, there may be two reasons for your feeling uninspired:

  • One may be a real case of the Resistance — your own laziness, outside distractions, or some other negative force keeping you from making a difference. If that's the case, then you only have one choice: show up, do the work.
  • However, if you're feeling empty, be careful. You could waste hours sitting in front of a computer screen or with a guitar on your lap. If this is the case, you may need to step away and go do something that fills you up — play with your kids, listen to music, go for a run.

But don't be fooled; Resistance is still waiting to snatch you up at the earliest possible moment.

Once you're full again, get right back at it. Start creating and continue working through the Resistance.

What do you do when you're feeling uninspired? And how do you tell the difference between feeling blocked and being empty?

Book recommendation: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (Affiliate link)