There’s no better inspiration or motivation for work than being in love. It’s what you dream of as a creative person. I was able to complete this album—start it, write it and complete it—under the spell of love, and I think it shows somehow.

So let me ask you…are you in love?

For the first 25 years of my career, I was employed by other people. I (mostly) enjoyed the work I did and was paid commensurate with my results. It wasn’t until I turned 50 that I decided “liking my work” was not enough.

So, I quit my job with nothing else lined up. I struggled for the next couple years before figuring out what was going to make me go to bed at night looking forward to getting up in the morning and going to work—my way of describing what “loving my work” meant.

I’m writing this on a beautiful, sunny July 4th while almost everybody else in my town is out picnicking and playing in the water. I’m writing this today not because I have to, but because I love writing this weekly email. (Note, my wife and I are empty-nesters and she can only take so much of me!)

I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to “create” a job and get paid for work that I love doing. But it took me more than 25 years to get to this point. And that leads to a second creativity lesson from Miranda.

2. Put in the time and do the work. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices for human love. And loving your work is no different.

Miranda shared a story about one day when he was on a train headed to a friend’s birthday party. He had his headphones on and then all of a sudden, the lyric “wait for it” showed up. He started writing it down “and I suddenly see the shape of the whole song.”

The train stops, he goes to his friend’s party and says,

‘Hey, what’s up man, Happy Birthday, I gotta go.’ I get on the L train and I write the rest of the song on the way back home from the L to the A back up to 207th street. You have to do that sometimes. You have to say no to your friends to say yes to your work because what are you gonna do, like, lose that idea because you decided to have a drink with your friends? It’s not worth it. Your friend will be there.

Inspiration struck and Miranda tossed the party aside, put in the time, and did the work. Birthing genius requires sacrifice.

In a similar way, Diamond suffers for his art. Billboard magazine wrote, “Diamond has become extremely disciplined about his process. He writes every day, regardless of inspiration or deadlines.”

Diamond doesn’t mince words about putting in the time and doing the work.

It’s terrible because you’re forgoing real life. I’m locked in a room and I should be with my grandson or granddaughters and I can’t be. I’ve had that for the last 45 or 50 years…I’ve missed out for the sake of my music and I understand that, but it doesn’t make it any easier to do.