Creative Inspiration vs. Creative Resistance

Is it necessary to be “creatively inspired” before pursuing creative projects, or is waiting for creative inspiration a pitfall that trips us up?

Another way of saying this is: Do you have to be in the ‘right mood’ or ‘right energy’ in order to be creative?

Steven Pressfield would call this “resistance,” and say instead that what we need to do is show up and “do the work” no matter what pain, doubt, terror, or mood we might encounter in the process.

There’s more on this subject in my article, “Resistance is Futile.”

My experience is that often when I think I “can’t” create, and I do it anyway, the act of engaging with my art puts me in a whole new energy state, usually one that is more uplifted and inspired.

Other times, when I’m really stuck in my thinking or in a bad mood (yes, me too), I can jolt myself out of it by wondering about creative solutions, which puts me in a more resourceful creative state.

It seems like if I ask the right question, like, “I wonder how I could make my character more convincing as a tough, surly broad?” :) or “I wonder how I could make contact with the sci fi filmmakers?” all kinds of new answers start flowing to me.

Your Turn

I’d love to hear from you about any or all of these:

  • Do you wait for inspiration to strike when it comes to your creative projects?
  • Do you know how to draw on your inspiration at will (and if so, how do you do it)?
  • Or do you get your butt in seat and start writing (or whatever your artistic equivalent is)?


Coming Attractions

~> July & August. Doing Creative Destiny Assessments with visionary creatives ready to claim their creative destiny. Interested? Email me here to request a session.

~> August 4th. My next Life Purpose Breakthrough ‘Big Vision’ Group. SOLD OUT. Details. If you’re interested in the next group (probably in September), email my team here and we’ll add you to the list.

~> September. Beta-testing my new writer’s accountability system with a select group and offering Life Purpose Coaching Groups. Stay tuned for more info.


~> MONDAYS. Right Brain Business Planning with my buddy Kris Carey.

~> FRIDAYS. Sacred writing days. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> Vacationing with my family in August (at least part of it!).


  1. Hi Jenna,

    I’ve been thinking about this, particularly in regard to my novel I was talking with you about earlier. I really do believe it’s important to establish a “habit” of creativity, a routine or ritual where we do sit down and create (or stand up and create, depending on what we’re doing!) on a regular basis. We simply will not *feel* inspired to create as much as we’d like to — or at least I’ve found this to be true. And I agree with you that the act of engaging in creativity can propel us into a new energy place.

    I’ve also found, though, that there are times when I’m pushing or forcing a piece of work that wants to be left alone for a while. Sometimes it’s kind of whispering, “Stop tinkering with me and let me sit for a bit.” Sometimes our creative problems can be solved by backing off for a while — and sometimes we solve them by diving in and making changes, right now. It can be tricky to know the difference, but I think the two situations feel different. (I’m wondering which is which with my novel right now — we shall see!)

    Thanks for the thought-provoking article, as always!

  2. Hi Jenna,

    Love the new web site, logo (ha!) and the home page where you used the orange. Feels free and open.

    In our natural state, we’re always ready for creativity. Think of early childhood – did you ever feel down? or overwhelmed? I was always on the move. Unfortunately, most of us have to reclaim our creativity after being trained to be uncreative and uninspired.

    I’m been reclaiming myself for decades and find a good way to do that is go outside and look at the stars or at the trees or at the insides of flowers. Our divorce from nature – our natural habitat – makes us crazy.


  3. Julita de Wet says:

    What fun to be able to chat and share ideas with other creative sensitive souls! For me creativity is what I must do to breath, I have to fit the rest of my life in with my creativity. When I walk to the train I have to stop to take a photo of a beautiful tree. On the train I take a scribbling pad along to jolt down ideas or images that might spring to mind. I am a costume maker and when I get projects that I don”t like for money, I get up,put music on,burn essential oil and pursue it like any other job. It might be harder than an exciting job,but I have created a rhytm that makes it doable and enjoyable. I think if one allows creativity in,in all aspects of your life,the flow of it becomes natural.

  4. Hi Jenna,
    This is the problem I am up against, for instance, today I turned my laptop off, and aimed to start one of the story ideas I have got but it just wasn’t working out too well. I have been struggling with thinking of a really engaging plot unlike what I usually write in ways, but I feel creatively bound. I do not have much structure in my life, and that reflects in my writing which means I write when I feel like it, but that is proving to be in my case quite dissatisfying in the sense that I can end up procrastinating and not finsihing things which I start. Perhaps it’s always important to have a pen and paper for when spontaneity is flooding out( which is the best time) but to have that ethic of hard work and craft, pushing through boundaries and seeing it differently. I often think to myself why cannot I not free my creativity? I asked Nature why I can feel so alienated? It was quite and introspective in it’s answer. I think it’s down to me, I need to change my habits and thought patterns, I need to see things differently.

  5. Hi,

    I recognize what Jill is saying, sometimes creative projects just need to be left alone to perculate in the background.
    However, many times it does help to have a strategy. My strategies differ depending on the creative activity

    -when I want to paint, yet don’t feel inspired…
    1. I give myself permission to do a few quick “messing around on paper” works. Just doing whatever and not judging what I do (the latter is critical).
    2. Browsing other people’s artwork also helps to get me inspired.

    – when I wan to write…
    1. reading interesting topics and questions tend to inspire a text.
    2. I also find twitter to be a great way to get myself to write something tiny everyday and getting it out there. At the same time, my twitter page is a huge storage room of ideas for longer texts that I can use later.
    3. writing comments on other people’s posts…I realized I just got inspired to write more!

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