There’s this really sweet thing that happens to me sometimes.
What happens is I get some love from the muse. Do I capitalize that? The Muse? Muse? I definitely don’t want to offend her (them?). Because right now I’m on her good side. Right now, I am drowning in ideas. And it’s a good drowning. It’s freaking cool. And I’ve learned to recognize it when it starts happening, and to appreciate it, however long it lasts.
Usually, and you writers, and creative-types will get this, usually you work your butt off for your ideas. You stretch, you reach, you push yourself, and then you push more. A lot of the time writing is hard work. You write one sentence, and then erase two others. You feel like everything you write is garbage. You read terrible reviews. You cringe internally at things you’ve written in the past. You wonder if you’re really cut out for this calling.
And then, sometimes, you are blessed with a wonderful burst of creativity. Don’t question it, is my advice. Take it and run. Jot down the ideas as fast as they come. Get your computer out, keep a notebook by your side. Scribble the words on a cocktail napkin or type them into our phone’s memos. Don’t overthink it, and don’t worry about what you’re doing with all these ideas THAT JUST WON’T LEAVE YOU ALONE. It’s wonderful. Let it happen. Let your brain do the work, without it actually feeling like work. Trust it.
When I’m in these phases, as I am now, I feel like I’m not even working. I am writing for the sheer joy. I’m writing because I must. I am a vehicle for these ideas. My mind, my hands, my fingers typing furiously, they are all working for these stories. These stories want to be born. I just need to get out of my own way, and birth them. When, and if, this happens to you, you will probably feel exhilarated, like I do now. You may love the ideas coming to you. You may be also be like, what the hell, brain. What are you doing to me? But, enjoy this creative energy. Creativity for me leads to productivity. And then I feel so good about myself, so inspired, I am more creative. And more productive. It’s a wonderful, messy, wild circle, and I love it.
If you’ve been “blocked” before, you know how awful it is. You stare at a blank page, a white screen. You stumble over the words, or worse yet, you have NO words to stumble over. You feel empty, stuck. And then you somehow manage to find something, to dig deep down inside, and grab a hold of a snippet of an idea. It’s not always good (usually, for me, it’s painfully pathetic), but it’s there. And then, like magic, other times you get on the Muse’s good side and the ideas fall like rain. A restorative, beautiful rain that makes all the flowers grow.
In the last month, I’ve been showered with ideas. If you consider five new short stories showered, then yeah, I’m keeping that metaphor. And I do consider five a lot. Five new stories in a month that I didn’t have to sweat, cry, and bleed for? Five stories I’m excited about, that just sort of fell into my brain? Yes, please.
So, I’m taking these stories, and running with them. The first, The Peony and the Sun, I self-published just last month. The others still need work, but I may self-publish again, or I may submit to journals or magazines. That really doesn’t matter to me right now, though. What I care about now is that I am thrilled to be writing. I have ideas to spare! I am jotting this down quickly (sorry for any typos!) and I am getting back to the short story I started writing this short story. I not only want to get back to it, I need to. The Muse will not leave me alone. Thank goodness for that. I’ll enjoy it as long as it lasts, whether it’s another month, a week, or gone in a day. I feel giddy with it. It’s the best high ever, writing often, and writing well.
Thanks, Muse. Really.
Writers, what is your experience with getting random, wonderful bursts of creativity? Aren’t they amazing? How long do you find they usually last?