Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Letting it happen

The creative process is a funny thing and seems to follow roughly the same lines for all creative endeavors. My experience is almost completely in the music and writing worlds, but I do have friends in the other arts who tell me their experience with creative inspiration is very similar to mine, so I’ll proceed from that viewpoint.

The one thing I have learned over the years is that the inpiration can’t be demanded, pushed, rushed, or forced. It’s either working for you or it’s not. Regardless of deadlines, you can’t make creativity happen if the muse has taken the day, week or month off. When Elvis has left the building, you just have to wait for him to return.

That’s not to say that there aren’t ways to help coax your muse back into your head.

I’m sure any creative types reading this blog posting have certain things they do when they’re setting out to work. We all seem to have times of the day when we get our best work done. For me, it’s either very early in the morning or very late at night. If my work schedule permits, I often prefer to work during the night and sleep during the day. Alas, that doesn’t happen much these days.

We have our set patterns, too. Whether it’s a certain kind of tea in your favourite mug, your desk arranged just so, a particular kind of music playing in the background, we all find ways to help induce the creative juices to flow. Being the nomad I am, I can write anywhere. Having taught band in school for more years than I care to think about, noise isn’t a distraction. I could write at a rock concert if I had to. With my crazy work schedule, I also have to grab the minutes where I find them. This weekend I worked on a scene while getting my hair cut (with my bald pate, that’s a quick process these days). Then, while I waited for my wife to take her turn, I tuned out the background chatter and wrote down what I’d conceived in the barber’s chair. Two days later, I still like it, so it will stay in the book.

The point is, though, that when inspiration struck, I tried to make the best use of it that I could.

Right now I have some time to write, and unfortunately, the old noggin is empty. I even tried my usual “go back and read the last thing I wrote”, sort of prime the pump – and nothing.

So I sat down to write my blog posting. Hopefully, it will help.

Nope. I just checked: still nothing.

It’s a nice day, so I’ll go for a walk and see if that jogs something loose.

If it doesn’t, I’ll just have to sit and wait for Godot. I know any words I set down without the muse firmly in my head will have to be tossed out within a day or two.


Hannah Dennison said...

I know that feeling all too well. No matter how many times I tell myself that the muse will return, I am paralyzed with panic that maybe this time, Elvis really IS dead. Thanks for posting this topic today - I don't feel so alone! Hope your muse returns asap!

Rick Blechta said...

My muse is just fine thanks. We shared a delicious dinner and enjoyed a glass (or two) of wine and now we're sitting at the computer ready to get to work. I was just speaking rhetorically.

Elvis will never die. Don't worry. Be happy.