Sit. Down. Shut Up. Write. Or, Maybe Don’t.

This is a thoughtful piece and great advice, in theory, but also maybe not the best way to go about things either. I don’t know. Everyone’s philosophy on this is different.

Sure, you can sit around waiting for inspiration to strike and sure you can sit down every day, hopefully, willing inspiration into existence, but there’s no guarantee either strategy will yield the desired result.

Harper Lee, who finally has a new book coming out, published To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960. Until now, it’s been her only book, and while I’m sure she’s written other things, maybe the reason she hasn’t published more is because she just hasn’t had many great ideas.

Terrence Malick is one of the most creative, celebrated film directors in cinema, but he makes a movie every ten years. Why? Maybe he feels like working when inspiration strikes. Maybe he doesn’t look at filmmaking like a job, something he needs to sit down to do, but rather, something only worth doing when there is something great to be done.

D’Angelo released his long-awaited third LP, Black Messiah, last December, after a whopping 14-year wait for it. It was, by most accounts, one of the best and most trangressive pieces of musical work that anyone had released in a long time.

Meanwhile, Woody Allen has been making a new movie every year for something like forty years, and many of them, are arguably not very good. James Patterson writes ten books a year and how many of those are forgettable? Many. Some musicians, particularly newer ones, release so much music, its quality indeterminate, that you can’t even keep up with it.

So, I guess my point is— there’s no way right or wrong way to approach making things. For some people, they need to make a thousand paintings before they find the one they like. For others, they can do one or two that are fully realized and not much else. Some people try to mix up both strategies.

As in all things in life, balance is the key. Do what you feel works best for you.

Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.

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