How inventor par excellence Thomas Edison can inform your creative work.
What can we, as writers, photographers, artists, and bloggers learn from American inventor Thomas Alva Edison? Plenty, as it turns out. Edison is famous for many inventions, including the phonograph, a commercially viable lightbulb, and the motion picture camera.
His success resulted from trial and error, and many, many failed experiments before creating a lightbulb that could last 1200 hours, just as an example. He could have stopped. He could have given up. He chose to frame his work in a positive light:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Edison’s philosophy is particularly compelling to anyone who does creative work:
Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.
How many rough drafts, spoiled drawings, and blurry photos have you created before that stroke of serendipity? Are you looking at a failure, or an important stepping stone toward a masterpiece?
If you’re waiting for inspiration, you might be left waiting, giving up time that could be better spent creating. Get writing, get your watercolors out, pop your camera in your pocket and do a photowalk in your neighborhood. If you focus on being consistent with process, inspiration will find you, and what you produce will show it.