Inspiration – A method to the madness

11 04 2010

Inspiration. It’s like catching lightning in a bottle. A flash of creativity. A moment of clarity. As a creative person, inspiration is so frustrating yet so amazing at the same time. It’s amazing when it comes and frustrating when it won’t. And you can’t force inspiration. Either it comes or it doesn’t. So when it comes you better be ready.
I used to have a miniature tape recorder I carried around so if a moment of inspiration struck while I was driving I could capture it. Now I just use my Blackberry which has a voice recorder on it. At home, I am often working on my computer, so if inspiration strikes, I just put my work on hold and work on my novel or blog or whatever. That’s one of the things I like most about being my own boss. I can let myself work on my novel when the inspiration strikes and get back to my work later. So sometimes I’m doing work at 9 oclock at night, but that’s probably because I was working on my novel or my blog at 3 p.m.

I’m not much of a night owl. I wish I was. By the time the kids go to bed, I’m usually ready to pass out. I get up at 6:30 to get the kids ready for school. Usually I get a little peace and quiet at 8 after I get back from taking the kids to school. Depends on how long Addie sleeps in. I wish I could be productive late at night after they were all in bed. But I can’t, so I make due and work when I can.

While you can’t force inspiration there are ways you can make it more likely. It’s different for each person. For me, I usually just start writing and listening to music and as I’m working, the right words usually find their way from my brain to the computer. Sometimes it takes longer than others, but usually those pearls of wisdom make the arduous journey and find their way home.

But where does inspiration come from. As a Christian, I believe true inspiration comes from God. Over the years, numerous theories about the source of inspiration have been put forward, ranging from supernatural to biological. Ralph Waldo Emerson and other Romantic writers saw inspiration in the same way as the ancient Greeks. In Greek thought, inspiration meant that the poet or artist would go into ecstasy or furor poeticus, the divine frenzy or poetic madness.

Whatever the source, inspiration is a cruel mistress and those who are subject to her whims are forever destined to suffer for their art.

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One response

11 04 2010
Paul

“Poetic madness”. I like that. I guess it pretty accurately portraits when any artistic inspiration strikes.

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