One big reason for working as a habit, a little every day, is to be ready for the unexpected. Or, dramatically, The Unexpected. When inspiration hits, when strange new visions come along, it’s a lot easier to have been working on the thing rather than have to deal with such revelations without a foundation. It’s a lot more difficult to try and build up a fire around the unexpected spark when you haven’t been gathering, cutting, and stacking tinder, kindling, and logs.

It’s a little counterintuitive. Not only does our natural reluctance to do anything difficult get in the way of creation, it’s massively romantic to believe art should flow from the blaze of inspiration. But inspiration rarely comes, in the grand scheme, for most of us. We have to slog. We fret. We noodle and stumble, often blindly building up pieces of a whole we have no idea the shape or size of.

Getting ready to throw the spark into the fuel is key to a nice, warm fire. Or if you’re lucky, an uncontrollable inferno.