Forced Inspiration

I’ve been trying to force inspiration all day. Once an idea is started I need to just steamroll through, no waiting for the muse to inspire. But finding that first spark, that image or thought that leads to another, creating a story all on it’s own? Sometimes I just can’t find it. It’s not that I think the muse is going to drop in for a visit RIGHT when I say so, but it’s so frustrating to be looking and never finding. Like that piece of a dream that you can taste and feel but can’t quite remember as it slips further away.

Several years ago I was on a job interview when The Artist’s Way was recommended to me. I wrote the title and tucked it away until about three years ago when I decided to take my writing seriously. I *tried* to follow the book, but more often than not I missed my morning pages, did a half effort on the exercises and just kind of wallowed in my creativity failure. I had excuses– my kids (then preschoolers) were always underfoot, I had too many chores. I think my first attempt lasted a few months at most. I put the book away, intending to try it again once I had more time to devote to it. Then about a year ago, some women I knew online were going to start an email group. AHA! I thought perhaps working with a group would keep me going, so I joined. Alas, I should have known myself better. I got through two chapters and just kind of drifted off track.

I must have a tinge of rebellion in me. (I would never imagine anyone seeing me as rebellious, though! Kind of passive rebellion, I guess.) Just the fact that I HAVE to do these things makes me not do them. I think if there’s too much expectation, I flake out. I know some people flourish with outside deadlines. And sometimes I do– I get things done on time for outside obligations, but when it come to just me I don’t. If I have an outside motivation– a consequence– I’m more apt to do it. But if it’s just for me? There is no consequence. And if I make one, well, I KNOW I can get out of it. Why is it so hard to take myself seriously?

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