Saturday, April 9, 2011

Creativity Myth #1: Waiting for Inspiration to Strike


But if you ever find yourself sitting around waiting for inspiration, here's a little tip: you'll do more waiting than

Which brings me to the first myth about creativity: Waiting for inspiration to strike.

Waiting for inspiration to strike is a little like waiting for lightning to strike.

Sure it happens--but if you want to make it as a professional writer you can't bank on waiting for it.

Boy, when inspiration strikes, all bets are off. Pen goes to paper and you feel as if you've touched live electric wire. (or fingers go to keyboards, or paintbrush to canvas, or hands to guitar neck... you get the idea)

But what about all the other days when inspiration seems far away?

One trick you hear about is to seek out things that inspire you. Sure, this works sometimes. There's nothing wrong with trying to induce creativity by shaking things up or listening to Sigur Ros or Florence + the Machine. You don't wait in one spot for lightning to strike. You go out and chase storms.

But, there is something deeper than just scouring Youtube for creative videos to spark your imagination (besides, time spent online is time spent NOT writing).
Why not make inspiration a habit?

"What do you mean, Mason? What is this secret of which you speak?"

Ok, so no real secret. Making writing a habit makes inspiration a habit.

As you learn to express yourself more clearly, with less affectation or bad writing habits, the easier it is for any glimmer of inspiration to be seized and nurtured and developed.

You become a clearer conduit for your muse. You learn to fan into flame that little spark, instead of stifling it.

I love my critique group (The infamous Illiterati) because they always tell me when I'm clouding up the waters. And they challenge me to go farther, deeper, and swim in dangerous waters where inspiration lurks like a sea serpent coiling just under the surface.

But let me make one thing clear: You have to be able to write under duress.

Life doesn't slow down. Life doesn't pause or go on vacation for you to write.
You do it in spite of life sometimes.

Anyone who has children under 5 and who's written anything coherent recently can attest to that.

But now let's hear from you.
What things inspire you? Music, videos, blogs, people, thingamabobs?


So to spark some inspiration here's Florence + the Machine tearing your face off under extreme duress (outdoor festivals, electric instruments and rain = no bueno)

1 comment:

  1. Guilty as charged! I spent months waiting on inspiration and wrote very little. Partly it was needed and partly I just got a little lazy with it.

    Recently I've gotten back into the habit of writing my Morning Pages (750 words every day) and it's funny... that little spark is starting to fan into full fledged inspiration! Every day I find myself writing a bit more and wanting to branch out from just journal stuff back into novel stuff.

    Amazing post as always.

    PS. I miss you on twitter hehe.