You are going about your day – perhaps you are on a walk, perhaps you are washing the dishes. All of a sudden, you feel The Muse touch you with her magic. A brilliant idea enters your head and you rush to your work space before the inspiration can escape. And it doesn’t stop there. Next thing you know, the poem, the song, the painting, is complete. There is not a word that needs to be changed, not a brush stroke that needs to be added.
This is what happened to me recently and, if you haven’t experienced it, it’s a beautiful thing. I was struck with an idea for a song and, in the process of writing down a potential title, the song seemed to complete itself.
When we can spend months, if not years, agonizing over the details of a creative project, it can be such a relief to have something go smoothly. We find ourselves eternally grateful for that ease that makes us believe this idea that inspired us was destined to come to pass.
But we have also often heard that it is in the challenging times that we experience the greatest personal growth and this can apply to our creative pursuits as well.
Those projects that are harder to wrap our heads around can lead to exploration, the acquisition of new skills. In theory, we would always love to be growing and evolving but there are times when we can find ourselves almost unconsciously stuck in a rut, doing the same kinds of things over and over again because it’s comfortable. Our fingers just go to those chords, those turns of phrase keep appearing over and over again. I know it happens to me from time to time.
Then an idea comes along that excites us so much we have to engage even we don’t know how it’s going to turn out. Maybe it’s in a new genre or style. Maybe you’ve been painting in watercolours but have a vision of something in oils. Maybe you have just a title but no idea whether it’s going to be a poem, a short story, or a novel. And if the idea wants to be a novel and you’ve never written one before? That’s scary stuff!
It’s scary but it can also be fun because it now presents you with an opportunity to, in this case, do research into how to write a novel – the type of structure, narrative arcs, character elements. Sure, after you’ve looked into it you can choose to abandon any precedent and recommendations but at least you will have some new tools under your belt should you want to use them.
So, enjoy the easy times when everything is in flow and be grateful for those pursuits that ask you to reach further, to dig deeper. You will be the better for it!