No matter what kind of creative you are — writer, painter, Youtuber, etc. —you’ve probably experienced a feeling of lack of inspiration or burnout at some point. If you’re like me, it’s happened a lot.

How do you keep going in spite of that, especially if you have important things riding on your ability to make it happen? I shared a video on just that:

The gist of the video is this.

You have to take the pressure off of yourself to create perfection. The creative muscle is like any other: use it or lose it. We have to try creating every day, or as regularly as possible, to stay sharp.

But going at that pace means making mistakes. It means creating some stuff you’ll never want to show anyone (and that’s fine). No one craps gold every time they lay hands to keyboard (or brush, or camera). We have to get through the lesser stuff to create our best work, and the more we allow our minds to roll with ideas the more we train ourselves to have those ideas.

That means eliminating self-sabotaging filters and expectations.

No more, “Ok self, this piece has to be the best one I’ve done yet!” I used to think of my blog that way and it was paralyzing. No idea that crossed my mind 9 days out of 10 would pass muster, and I ended up with some of the longest dry spells of my life.

The other reason to stop with the filters is that we’re often wrong.

What if you think a blog post you just wrote is okay, but you’re not sure if it’s quite what you wanted it to be? Sometimes you’ll be surprised that it was exactly what someone else needed to read that day. Maybe you inspired them, or made them feel like they weren’t alone about something troubling them.

If you can do that, you’ve succeeded whether it was your most portfolio-worthy creation or not.

Erika Napoletano said that if you’re not a little nervous as you’re about to press ‘publish’ you probably weren’t honest enough. Creating in non-ideal circumstances is always better than accomplishing nothing while waiting for better scenery.

Writing can always be tweaked further. Editing until it’s perfect is a fool’s errand; at some point it has to be good enough and you need to just put it out there. Some of the most prolific Youtubers got on camera before they were “ready”. They weren’t wearing fancy clothes, they weren’t master presenters yet, and they didn’t own expensive equipment.

But to do all those things, they had to start.