Writers can’t stop talking about, thinking of, and really, always wishing for Inspiration. It is the one elusive feeling that we chase. It is the reason we hunt down our Muse, and have Her close-by — because we hope that She can lure this elusive feeling of inspiration for us. We want to bask in that glow and have time stilled forever when it happens. But for all our wishing and hoping, this feeling only makes ocassional cameo appearances in our lives, making us thirst for more.
The Elusive Rush of Inspiration
I am, by no means an expert on this topic. But I’ve had my brushes with Inspiration and I can say that all the fuss is totally justified. The moment when you are struck by this lightning bolt is something that is forever etched in your memory, and it is to this moment that you will constantly turn to and smile, and say to yourself, “Wow! That was something!”
It is a rush, this feeling, and like any sort of rush, we are bound to chase it. And like a drug addict craving the high, we try all sorts of things to replicate the scenario, only to come back defeated and empty. And then, inside of us a coiled snake of hunger lashes out, and we rise up and try again. We try another way and yet another way to feel that high again, and lose.
Inspiration can be like an Ace of Wands moment that gets us started, and then lets us figure out the rest. And that, in my humble experience, is actually a very good thing.
I actually like the fact that these moments of inspiration are fleeting and elusive. Imagine getting inspired all the time, and then having no time to sit down and actually work upon those inspirations!
While inspiration can and does get us started down the path of the creation, it is diligent patient effort that ultimately gets the things done. Inspiration gets the ball rolling, but it is consistent and systematic work that ensures that the final product (as it were) gets created and is ready to be set free into the world. And, strangely enough, as we practice this dilligence, we find that Inspiration casually walks right in and sits down next to us and ocassionally (and often when we really need Her) pats us on the back and pushes us forward.
Diligent Patient Effort
Trying. Struggling. Failing. Succeeding. Effort is all of this and much more.
With an elusive goal in the mind’s sight, you start this journey that received its first injection of fuel from inspiration.
But then, you put in all your efforts into the fulfilment of that dream, and slowly and steadily work your way towards making that moment a vivid reality.
Word by word, you write that first draft. Dab by dab of color, you paint your picture. Brick by brick, you build your building. Note by note, you sing your song. Line by line, you write your code. Thought by thought, you build your poem.
Each act of creation requires this diligent and patient effort to convert that moment of inspiration into reality. Without this effort, all that inspiration simply remains floating about in the Universe, looking for someone else to take it to the next level. So if you aren’t brave enough to take it on, and if you aren’t willing to put in the required hours, then be sure that there is always someone else who is.
Inspiration will always try its best to work with you—but if you are not ready or available, it may indeed choose to leave you and to search for a different human collaborator. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic)
If that doesn’t scare you, then, well, maybe you aren’t the right human collaborator for this particular inspiration energy force.
But if you know deep down inside your heart of hearts that you are indeed the chosen human collaborator for this blazing comet of inspiration, then grab on to its tail and don’t ever let it go. And then, begin your diligent patient effort to slowly work your way up to its head, and ride that beast all the way.
This, my friends, is the ultimate quest.
Heroes are remembered for the battles that they fought and the monsters that they prevailed upon. But no one talks about the endless hours that they practiced their skills and sharpened the edges of their swords, or the cuts and bruises that they mended, tended, and ignored to rise up again, every single time, every single day, and pick up their weapon and practice.
That diligent and patient effort was what led to that one defining moment in the heat of the battle where they could count upon those hours and hours of systematic practice. All the blood, sweat, and tears that they shed during those hours of practice eventually led to that moment in the arena when everything was considered defeated. But they stood up. Demolishing all the odds against them, regardless of the pain and the ache, they faced that demon monster. On trembling legs, they pulled themselves together and gripped on the hilt of their sword, and put all of their resolve and strength into that final stroke that sliced through the belly of the beast and vanquished it.
That is the result – and everyone cheers for that result.
But, today, I want to talk about that practice, that effort, that diligence, and that patience – all of which totally contributed to that final successful result. That is the untold story of the struggle to bring the dream to fruition. It is that bit of the real story, which often gets swept under the rug and breezed through in an inspirational song. That is the story that really interests me.
And based on that story, today I am going to share with you :
The Ultimate Formula for Success
Yup. Here it is.
Step 1: Find your Routine
Your routine is the channel which will contain your energies and direct them into the chosen sluices that were meant to carry those specific creative juices to their correct destinations. Your routine gives you the steadiness, the stability, and yes, even that little bit of unconsciousness that comes with a boring landscape.
But it gives you a firm base to stand up on. It gives you the nourishing ground that you can plant your seeds in. It gives you the soothing comfort that will ease all of the aches and pains that your practice will inevitably bring about. It is, in effect, your home, your place to create in, where you know you will succeed.
Step 2: Love your Method
Loving that boring little routine will be your salvation. There is no escaping it.
But if you do manage to escape, (and I dare you to try it), you will learn that the price to pay will be your life itself. And yes, I really, truly did mean to scare you about it. Because it is that scary. The journey back to that same old routine will be the hardest journey ever. But perhaps you ought to go through it once, or even twice for that matter, to really appreciate what it means to love that method of yours.
To love this routine, and to love your method of working, no matter how boring it may get, is the only way. Because, when you do find the heart of this steadfast relationship, you will discover the power of true love. You will find the road to true joy. You will chart your course to the ultimate blissful moment of existence itself.
Step 3: Practice Dilligently
And yes, this is the true secret that beats in that heart of hearts – diligent practice. The hours upon hours spent sweating and toiling in the heat of the sun just learning how to hold your sword just right will one day bring you to that life saving moment on the battlefield.
If you want to be the hero of that battle, and if you want to defeat that beast on the battlefield, you will have to practice now. Every single day. Every single moment. With diligence. With steadfastness. With focus. With devotion. With only one aim in sight.
All of these will ultimately coalesce into the the book or the painting or the poem or the song or the building or the app that you are working on. And then that book / painting / poem / song / building / app will chart its course into the hearts and minds of the people reading it / seeing it / listening to it / looking at it / using it.
Ultimately, creativity is a result of all of these forces coming together.
Even though the world only recognizes the final moment, the final result, we as creators know the true meaning of what went into the creation of that final moment.
Creativity then, is not about that final moment, but about how you took that inspiration energy and put all your diligence and patience into it, and the effort that went into building or creating that final moment of glory and success.
What do you think?