Thursday, January 15, 2009

Making it Easy for the Muse

One of my friends who has a problem, as most of us do at some point or other, actually sitting down to write her book, put it, she’s waiting for the inspiration to hit. We’d been through long conversations about writing, about the creative process, about the creative act and the doing of it.

When she said she was waiting for the Muse to come knock down her door and then she’d get creative, I saw the problem in a new way. Here’s some of my response to her:

“That’s your problem! Aha! Got it! You think that writing is about award-wining ideas hitting you. Nope. Writing is about putting words on paper (or typing them onto a computer screen). Simple. That's it.
“And that goes for painting or choreographing, or designing, or any creative act at all. It’s never about the brilliant Aha! moment that’s supposed to come in a vacuum. Vacuums are overrated.
“More often, the Aha! award-winning stuff comes in the middle of some really awful, disgusting totally garbage-bound stuff. You have to prepare the stage: you have to do the garbage to get to the awards.
“You don't write (or paint or dance, etc.) just when inspiration hits. You write so inspiration can hit. You give it the opportunity, make it easy, prepare the target.
“Inspiration looks for the easy way---like we all do and like all natural phenomena do. If it's floating by and there's someone already writing (garbage or whatever) it doesn't stop to judge, it just sees that there are fingers flying and putting words down (or feet already dancing, or a paintbrush already poised above canvas…) and it's much easier to drop the inspiration in those laps than to find someone else, get them to stop whatever else they're doing, find pad and pencil or plug in the laptop or tie their ballet slippers, or mix the perfect green pigment, and finally, after all that, give them the inspiration. I mean, really...if you were a Muse, which way would you go?”

So let’s all make a resolution for 2009: Let’s make it the year of Making it Easy for the Muse. Let's get the garbage out of the way by starting without the Muse, so when the Muse is ready, she/he/it can inspire us easily.

Happy Creative 2009!