Sunday Snippet: Jack London

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

It was once said that waiting for inspiration was only possible for people who had the luxury of time. It was also said that the most inspirational thing in the world is a looming deadline. When your livelihood relies on your ability to produce, both of these statements are very much true.

American author Jack London certainly recognized that. You really can’t sit around, twiddle your thumbs, and hope that inspiration comes knocking. You have to find it. You have to hunt it. You have to capture it. And then, you have to tame it. Many great men have come to this same realization.

You likely know Jack London best for novels like White Fang and The Call of the Wild, both of which are treasured as timeless classics today. Indeed, London is recognized as a pioneer in the industry of commercial magazine fiction and was one of the first fiction writers to gain international celebrity status. His work was great, but he didn’t sit around and wait for the stroke of genius to come to him; he went “after it with a club.”

Inspiration is a challenging thing. It’s in the ether. A strategy that works wonderfully for one creative artist may be counterproductive for another, and even then, the effectiveness of one strategy may be short-lived. Sometimes all it takes is to revisit old content. Other times, you need a change of scenery. You may find inspiration in the great works of other authors and artists. Whatever the case, the pursuit of greatness is never complete.

There’s always more. You just have to be persistent, whether that means following established tracks or carving out a brand new path altogether.