Don’t Wait Around for Inspiration

We’ve all heard the phrase, “good things come to those who wait.” It’s been tweeted, tattooed on many-a body, and photoshopped on inspirational nature photos a million times over. Because it’s reassuring to say, “if I’m patient, good things will happen,” especially for creatives in times of the inspiration-less doldrums, or waiting for your first online shop sale – all of which does take patience.

But there’s a difference between waiting to, say, push your online shop until you’ve got enough designs uploaded, and just waiting around for it to start taking off without pushing it. Because here’s the catch with that whole “good things” quote: If you sit just waiting for good things to happen? Then you’re kinda doing this:

Don't Wait Around For Inspiration

When it comes to jumpstarting something we’re passionate about, it’s easy to want to wait for “the right time” to pass go. After all, if everything’s perfect then nothing can go wrong, right? 

But waiting for “the right time” can be like trying to find the end of the rainbow – you’re spending a lot of time walking towards something that might not exist. And this can become a trap that becomes more self-protective than productive.

Because at its core, this cycle of waiting is about fear of failure. By putting off starting something, sure, there’s no risk in it not selling or receiving negative feedback. Safe and comfortable. But by staying frozen in that comfort zone, we take away the messy process of mistakes and trial and error that are kind of essential if we want to improve. In other words, “perfection” can only happen through the process of imperfection.

*Cue Inception bwowww*

There’s a quote by the writer of A Wrinkle in Time that encourages doing pretty much the opposite of what “good things come to those who wait” preaches:

Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it.”

– Madeleine L’Engle

When we have a great idea we’re passionate about, or want to start selling our art, it can be scary. After all, what if you can’t sell the one t-shirt design you thought would be a guaranteed seller? What if you’re not snagging that first sale? What if you get negative feedback, or things don’t turn out how you want?

It’s easy to let these fears stop you from moving forward. But you don’t become the artist or successful online store by waiting around and thinking about it – you get there by starting.

We don’t become a better artist by thinking about drawing. We don’t learn which one of our tee designs will sell by trying to figure it out in our heads, or grow an audience by waiting for them to come to us. We don’t create a drawing we’re proud of by drawing it perfectly on attempt one. We learn by doing.

At the risk of getting meta, when I wrote this piece, I was mid-writer’s block and in the throws of writer’s anxiety. But despite that, I sat down and pushed through it. And it came together. Waiting around for it to come together perfectly in my head would have taught me how to binge-watch Stranger Things on Netflix. But it wouldn’t have taught me how to sit down and kick writer’s block in the butt.

Good things don’t come to those who sit around and wait. Good things come to those who push forward. 

Stop waiting to sell your art and get started. Threadless Artist Shops are free to sign up for and we take care of all the printing and shipping. All you have to do is make great art and get started. Make the move now!

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We’re an artist community built on the power of helping each other succeed — if you’re reading this and have tips of your own to share, please do so in the comments! Thank you!

Illustration done by the amazing Katie Lukes


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