Tuesday, November 09, 2010

You can’t force inspiration

The Supremes had a big hit in the ‘60s, “You Can’t Hurry Love”. I’ve also been in the creativity game long enough (first music and now writing) to have discovered that you can’t force inspiration. An idea can't be bullied into the open, it has to come out into the light on its own terms. The more you worry about it, push, worry some more about maybe having lost the creative spark, the more your imagination will laugh at you from the shadows.

So, Vicki, don’t worry, be happy. I’m certain knowing your prolific ability (as opposed to profligate), you’ve already got at least one novel in the can. You’ve had an enviable string of books in the past 18 months. Maybe your imagination has just decided that it needs a holiday.

I’ve been stuck in the doldrums many times and it ain’t fun, especially when you have a gun to your head. As you might expect, the gun makes it worse. And as that pressure builds, creativity slips farther away. It’s maddening.

My suggestion is with the wonderfully clear evening we’re having in Ontario, that you take out a chaise longue, bundle up warmly and have the warming beverage of your choice at hand, and just commune with the night sky. Another alternative is to take a long walk, as you’ve already suggested. The main thing, though, is to let your brain just relax and unwind.

It may take a few doses of this medicine (ignoring the whole problem), but if you’re like me and any number of people I’ve spoken with over the years, eventually you’ll find that all of a sudden the defining idea, that brief spark that sets off the whole conflagration once again, will just pop into your head and you’ll be off on another 300+ pages of discovery.

Just don’t try to force it.


Donis Casey said...

I sometimes think I live in the doldrums.

This reminds me of that wonderful quote from Somerset Maughm after an interviewer asked him if he wrote on a schedule or waited for inspiration to strike
"I wait for inspiration to strike,"he said. "Fortunately it strikes every morning at precisely nine o'clock.

Mary Vaughn said...

Inspiration is its own master. Relax and ignore it and it will show itself. Beg it to come and it wil ignore you.