Doing My Bit

I know what I want from the Gods of inspiration, but what do they want from me?

When you’re writing or creating, sometimes it all just comes together magically and effortlessly. It’s beautiful when it happens, but it’s not like that all the time for any of us.

You can’t rely solely on that big shot of inspiration – that’s the Gods gifting you.

I want to talk about the artists’ end of the deal.

Imagine you were some winged messenger dishing out your cart of inspiration. Who would you be more disposed to give it to:

–          Those sitting idly, smoking cigarettes by the window, waiting for you to arrive.


–          Those making themselves busy working at something, whether you got there or not.

If you think anything like I do, then it’s the latter.

“If you think the bird of inspiration is just going to swoop down and peck you on your ass, you’re wrong.” – Anon

Sometimes you bash your head against the wall for ages trying everything and still… nothing. Only for you to wake up the next day or even an hour later and the whole answer arrives peacefully, fully formed.

I can’t help feeling that the banging and toil lay the groundwork for some of that. You can be open to inspiration, but I find it comes a lot more frequently when you are actively involved in working already.

Firefighters have a saying:

“If you treat every alarm like it’s a fire one day you’ll be right and everything will go smoothly. If you treat every alarm like it’s nothing one day you’ll be wrong and it’ll be a nightmare for all involved.”

My point is that the trick is to show up, and be ready for work.

If I hold up my end of the deal, the gods of creativity have more reason to trust me with their bounty.

…and if the winged messengers don’t show up just yet – keep at it.

See what happens the next day.


3 Responses to “Doing My Bit”

  1. You are quite correct, Sir. Inspiration (whether its genesis is internal or external; and is there really a difference?) is elusive. Sometimes I don’t write for months and then suddenly I just have words falling out of my head and the impulse to write them down and rearrange them. I then find myself walking down an aisle in Tesco scribbling on my hands like a lunatic. We (creative types) are all slaves to it.

  2. Oh yeah, totally. It’s funny the places that sort of thing takes you too – stopping in the middle of the street to get some lines down onto your pad.

    As important as these moments are, I actually think that the discipline of sitting down to write, the ‘showing up for work’ part, is much more important. As unromantic as that sounds…

  3. Yes and yes. You sound like you (like me) have had to be the guy in a band that gets everyone into work mode and gets frustrated with the damage the idealism of waiting for that bird of inspiration to begin its pecking. I get your headset man. Keep working but of course, use distance; have more than a few projects on the go to keep that vital objectivity. Nice.

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