Screw Inspiration! Don't Wait For It!
In the great musical phenomenon Hamilton, Aaron Burr proclaims - Wait For it, Wait for it! It’s relevant in that storyline, but when it comes to creativity and holding out for inspiration, I say don’t wait for it!
Inspiration is a fickle and unreliable source of creativity. It often strikes at inconvenient times, and it seldom is conjured at will. It’s more likely to be aloof when it’s called upon or indifferent when bargained with.
But get down to it, ignore her, and she will respond to your action, presence and curiosity and funnel through you like water through a garden hose.
So, SCREW INSPIRATION!* Refuse to play that coy game of hide and seek. Show up, whether your energy is highest in the wee hours of the morning or into the belly of night, whether you keep banker’s hours or steal 15 minutes every day while the baby sleeps. Just show up, regularly, come hell or high water.
Let’s be honest though, very few of us have time to spare. Everyone has a damn good excuse not to do the hard work of being vulnerable, honest, and exposed in the making of things. We must make a stand, even though, as we know well, everyone is a critic. Especially those that do nothing. But take no never mind of that either.
And many of our excuses are legit - maybe you are a single mom (been there), or married with kids/step kids (been there too), or you work a few jobs to keep afloat (yup). Or you finally put everything aside, determined to gift yourself an hour of creating, and well, lo and behold, the refrigerator is just calling, and the laundry starts tugging at your sleeve, or ____________ (fill in the blank).
You are not alone. Take a seat and join this very crowded club. You are in good company.
But don’t get comfortable. Because if you want to be heard, if you simply must share whatever gifts have been uniquely given to you, then you can not wait for the moment of being divinely inspired. The mystery works through you while you work.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing like being in the FLOW, the Zone, channeling the Muse directly for hours on end, which seems like no time at all. We live for these moments of pure bliss, unadulterated creative orgasms. It’s only that they are subject to one’s own internal state of allowing, and it takes an evolved sort of being to allow the Flow at will - 24/7. Working on it.
So for all of my cheerleading, I’m also reminding myself. We all get distracted, life takes over, blah blah. But if we are waiting for some blinding bright light of inspiration, we miss out on the beauty created by perspiration. This, my friends, is most likely your best work.
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*Screw Inspiration! I read this simple quote the other day - attributed to the writer Octavia Butler in the book I recently reviewed: Daily Rituals: Women At Work. Click to preview HERE: