Inspiration Does NOT Matter!

I’ve deliberately sought to be inspired as I’ve worked, because I’ve believed that the work I do when I’m inspired will be higher quality than the work I do when I’m NOT inspired. And yet, my own experience strongly suggests that there is no direct correlation between inspiration and quality.

My major form of production is writing. I’ve written 3 reference books, 3 CPE courses, countless proposals and reports, and 350 sermons. And some of the time I’ve been really inspired – the keyboard has been smoking as I poured forth inspired words of wisdom, explanation, insight, etc. Reading those words later, I have thought that they were really good! However, they still required some editing.

At other times I have been completely uninspired, flat, blah, when I have had to write to meet deadlines. So I’ve just gutted it out and written what needed to be written. Those writings tended to require more editing before they could be released.

BUT…

3 months later, when I read documents that were written while I was on fire with inspiration, and documents written when I was so flat I could hardly write a word – I can not tell any difference in the quality. The uninspired writings are just as good as the inspired ones. This has been consistently true through many manuscripts.

What’s the take away? I no longer worry that my writings when I’m uninspired will be lower quality – I just leave some additional time for the extra editing. I still find that writing when I’m inspired is more rewarding.

Could this be generalized to other activities as well? Does this work for you? What do you think?

PS – Since I was inspired as I wrote this, it took about 25 minutes. I spent another 25 minutes editing a day later.

Gary Langenwalter

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