For the longest time, I wrote in fits and starts — whenever inspiration struck. A great idea would hit me, I’d jot it down, then tuck away my piece of paper with a feeling of accomplishment. However elusive my thought, I’d captured it. Satisfying as these moments were, they were fleeting. My output was often minimal and my results, uneven. I never quite seemed to get my creative writing truly under way and finish anything. Except, of course, when I had a deadline.
All this changed when I hit a major roadblock in a play I was working on. Frustrated by my lack of progress, I was seriously thinking about abandoning the whole project. Out of desperation, I decided to change my MO and devote a few hours every Monday to working on my piece. This approach seemed to unplug things a bit, but nothing spectacular happened; doggedly, I persevered.
Then one evening as I was taking the bus from my hometown of Montclair into Manhattan for my playwrighting class, a beautiful scene just fell out of the sky and into my lap. I could see it and hear it as if everything was unfolding right in front of me. It was something new and fresh. Grabbing my pen, I began writing down the dialogue I was hearing in my head in the margins of a magazine. The scene came to me whole, no straining, no effort – a gift from the universe.
Only later did I realize that intention triggers inspiration and not the other way around. My Monday work plan signalled to the universe that I was serious about my project. And because I was showing up, it responded by dropping a precious gift in my lap. To receive it, I had to push forward instead of pulling back. And when I did, my muse met me halfway bearing a hidden treasure.
Here’s what I learned from this: Waiting for inspiration to strike invites inaction. Just get to work at your desk or wherever you write, so fresh ideas know where to find you. Your muse shows up when you do.