Inspiration is a Horrible Friend

Inspiration loves you, but they’re not in love with you

Jason McBride
3 min readDec 27, 2021


Image by Jason McBride

Inspiration is the worst kind of friend. They’re a flighty, fickle friend who is always late for lunch and who constantly leaves you stranded at parties after having left with someone more daring, dangerous, and talented the moment you turn to fetch them a drink.

You’re in love with inspiration. Deep down, you know the truth. Inspiration loves you, but they’re not in love with you–they never were, and they never will be.

But you still wait for them. Your heart breaks every time you check your phone, hoping for a text and finding nothing. You try not to cry over your laptop at the coffee shop. You simultaneously can’t believe inspiration stood you up again and expect to be stood up because you know inspiration deserves better than your feeble, meager talents.

Working with inspiration is agony. It’s like living in a Greek tragedy. You know everything is going to go badly in the end. The only interesting part is discovering the new ways inspiration will ruin your life and your art by leaving when you need them the most.

But the way it feels when you and inspiration are in sync? Oh my god. It’s a glorious euphoric bliss. You are transported to another realm where time and space are meaningless. You work at the speed of ideas, and your art sings like the rings of Saturn. These rare moments where you touch the edge of the divine are the reason you spend all of your life putting up with inspiration’s feckless faithlessness.

If you were able to look at your creative life from the perspective of a god or a gamer, you would see that you spend most of your time miserable. You worry about your art more than you work on your art. The truth is your dependence on inspiration is holding you back.

Inspiration cannot be manufactured or summoned. The moment you get sick, stressed, or distracted, inspiration abandons you like a bad dad in the first act of a 1980s made-for-TV movie.

What you need is a better friend. Someone you can count on–someone who shows up every day.

You need discipline.

I know, I know. Discipline is boring. Their eyes don’t sparkle like…



Jason McBride

Freelance Writer & Illustrator | Poet & Visual Essayist | Amateur Human | he/him