Diving home from a show in western New Jersey this afternoon, I was listening to an interview with writer, Ann LaMott. She wrote (among several) a book called "Bird by Bird", which offers instructions on writing and life.
I've never read the book, but she was summing up her process for writing as described in her book, and something she said really struck me.
"Don't wait for inspiration", she said, "because it never comes and it's just another way to keep yourself from writing."
I'm paraphrasing that second part, but then she added that you have to willing to write badly. Every great thing we've ever read, she suggested, started out lousy.
And I was really encouraged by that, because often I find myself frustrated with how much a song I'm working on sucks. It's encouraging to know that someone who has had great success as an artist, who has had a great impact on the lives of others, also often feels that same frustration.
I will remember that the next time I set down my guitar in despair, and perhaps I will pick it right back up again.