In my last post I described how Inspiration wanted to come, but I didn’t have time to let her in.
That doesn’t mean that I have no other choice but to sit and wait for her to visit me again and hope there is room for her. In fact, that would mean merely saying”Yes” when someone asked if you wanted to go to Africa or South-East Asia, but instead of actually getting up and moving you keep sitting on the sofa and thinking of what the air in Africa or Asia would smell like. It is like saying yes to being stuck. Neither here nor there.
I have come to this understanding thanks to my own and others’ experience. The writer Elizabeth Gilbert says that an artist has to find her way back home. And “home” here means a place within you, where you do what you really want to do, because you love it even more than yourself. Just keep doing what you love. The photographer David Duchemin says the same thing in his last book. If you don’t try or don’t do anything then nothing will happen. He advises to be kind with yourself and to accept that sometimes your work sucks. But it’s far more important to keep doing your work, be there and do your thing. Let the dots connect in you until you are ready to put them all together and create something only you can create. To be able to connect the dots, you need to work continuously. You need to move. Every day. This way you serve the Muse.
Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us get to work. ~ Chuck Close
What this really means is taking responsibility. I’m experimenting all of this in myself. Sometimes it really is extremely difficult to sit down and write when accompanied by the thought I’m not feeling it. And the reason for thinking in such a way is usually because I miss the envisioned perfect environment. I like to write when no one is around. I like to do it early in the morning when everything seems new and fresh again. I sometimes prefer to have a cup of coffee next to me and music playing on the headphones. As soon as one of my daughters is awake, it is almost certain that I will lose the momentum. This is my battle. How can I create that certain environment for creativity on daily basis? Is this perhaps already a wrong way of thinking?
When I sat down yesterday afternoon and started to write this post I had faith – No matter what, I’ll sit down and write something. For the sake of writing. It felt good. I had a cup of coffee beside me, music playing on the headphones. I had just finished the first four sentences when I heard my baby daughter waking up from her nap. The next opportunity for writing was last night, when the kids were in bed. I wrote a few more sentences in an hour (!). I got lost in finding the perfect word or phrase and in crafting a perfect sentence right there and then. It is much more important to just write the ideas down and do the editing later. In fact, I was advised to take these two things as two separate phases of writing.
This morning I was frustrated that I couldn’t wake up as early as I had wanted. I was late, which meant that there was noise around me. My mindset was negative. I thought I had missed the only possible quiet time today for me. I thought another day was wasted. But I also heard me telling to myself to just do my work and play my part. Of course I knew that environment, time and inspiration was just a big excuse. With all my frustration of the things not being perfect I opened my notebook and continued writing this post. Just for the sake of writing. It was a big step, although may not sound like one. It was a battle between such tense feelings and the voice of wisdom. I can never learn nor discover new things about myself and about writing if I never write, even if it means doing it badly at times. I accept the work. And you can guess what happened next. The clouds of frustration faded, I was coming back and I was writing. One idea started another one. I was connecting some dots. The cogs were in motion.
Now it’s been exactly 24 hours since I started to write this post. The baby just woke up and is sitting near me. I’m glad that I was able to just do my thing instead of going along with negative thoughts. Every struggle creates a story. Every struggle is a possible growth and definitely a part of the work. Without this I would not have written this post. I would have comfortably given up at the highest peak of frustration and kept waiting for the perfect time and place. Which, of course, is the same as sitting on the sofa and thinking of what the air in Africa or Asia would smell like.