I can go a couple of weeks without having any inclination to write, or have the inclination but no ideas….
When the ideas do come, they come at night. I´m not talking about ‘evening, sitting on the sofa, watching a bit of telly´ – time of night, I’m talking about ´turn off the light, settling down for a good sleep’ time of night.
As you can imagine this is really inconvenient because it means it takes ages to get to sleep. It’s like chasing chickens in your head.
At one point I panicked that I would forget all those wonderful (?) ideas, so I took to writing in the loo. The H, who falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow, does not take kindly to bedroom lights being turned on mid sleep nor the scribbling or tap tapping that ensues depending on the writing medium being used. But the bathroom, as an office, is not a viable option. Especially in the long term and obviously not for hygiene reasons.
So, I try and remember it the next day but it´s oh so foggy. I can maybe recall the main gist of the idea but that witty, pithy sentence that was going to kick arse has gone…scarpered quicker than the children’s entertainer at the end of a toddlers birthday party.
Then of course I beat myself up about it because I think I should have gotten up in the night to write it down….
I saw an enlightening TED talk the other day by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love (EPL)
She speaks about the elusive creative genius and how in ancient times creativity was regarded as something that came from another, otherworldly source. Your ‘Genius’ was the one who fed you all those brilliant ideas, you just had to get them written down.
She gives the example of when she was writing the follow up book to EPL. She’d come to an impasse. She knew what she was producing wasn´t great but she carried on writing. She decided to ‘speak’ to her creative Genius as though it were this outsourced inspiration. She basically told It that she would carry on writing (whether good, bad or ugly). That she would uphold her end of their bargain and show up everyday to write and when It decided to participate she would be ready to receive the inspiration.
Well, I thought, if it can work for Elizabeth Gilbert…!
I can imagine my ‘Genius’ is an adolescent party girl (why else would she be up so late??)
Lots of sleeping during the day and then a crazy whirlwind of activity. Ideas with nothing in common and the intellectual depth of a teacup – all in the middle of the night (Party on!!!)
So I spoke to her one night ( she hangs out in the top right hand corner of my bedroom).
‘Please let me sleep! (yes, I said it out loud) I promise I’ll write it down tomorrow – all of it, even the random bits!’
I think I pissed her off. None of the ideas came back the next day, at least not in a way I could organise coherently….
It’s very convenient, the idea of creative inspiration not coming from within… As EG said in her lecture, it takes the pressure off when your mind goes blank.
So lovely readers, when you see that my posts are a bit irregular, it won’t be my fault ….it’ll be my Genius. She’ll either be asleep or giving me the silent treatment.