In the book that I am reading, The Creative Call, the author gives little "assignments" for the reader to fulfill. The chapter I am reading is about inspiration and the current "assignment" is to write about where and when inspiration strikes.
Where does inspiration strike? When do creative ideas reveal themselves? Good question!
I started to remember some specific incidents of inspiration striking. (Yes, I can remember some, even from back when I was in college. Those are probably the really big "AHA!" moments and that's why I can recall them.) As I started to think about inspiration, past and present, I realized they have something in common...
I certainly don't lack for general ideas. The list of portraits I'd like to create this year is quite long. I know that there is no way I can get to all of the people on my list by the end of 2011. At some point, I'll need to sit down and prioritize. (My list of circus folk continues to grow long after I made the "final list".) So, for now at least, the ideas are a-flowin'!
The kind of inspiration that I look forward to, yet it seems to always catch me off guard, is more specific. It'll be about a specific portrait, how she will look, what she'll wear, what she'll "say" to those who look upon her. That kind of inspiration is a bit more taciturn. It can't be forced. And, at least in my case, it only comes at an inconvenient time.
While I'm driving. Taking a shower. Trying to fall asleep. In other words, whenever I am far from paper and pencil and, therefore, unable to record these sought after thoughts and visions.
I have finally noticed this pattern. Yea, me! Now, what to do about it.
The thing about getting inspired at inconvenient times is that I have to continue dwelling on these thoughts and visions until pencil and paper can be found. I can see that that extra time spent in the ol' noggin helps these little gems mature. By the time I can pull them out of my brain, I can see that they were worth the effort. I used to think it was annoying as all get out. But now... Well, I'll not begin to keep pad and pencil by my bed, in the shower(?) or in my car.
Where and when does your inspiration strike? Have you ever consciously thought about it? I recommend you do. It was interesting and helpful to me to "pin it down". The creative process can be mystical and magical. It can be wearisome and frustrating. It can be over-flowing and it can drag its feet. I think that the more we understand our own, unique, creative selves, the easier it is to deal with whatever comes our way (or not, as the case may be).
So, here is to inspiration- whatever form it takes, whenever it graces us with her presence and whenever it chooses to strike!