“Serendipity: the occurrence and development of events by
chance in a happy or beneficial way.”
Lovely word, isn’t it? Wonderful, the way it slides and dips, then rises again. Sometimes as writers, we are surprised and awed by entrancingly helpful events that come our way on wings, without warning. One evening, not long ago, I happened upon a wonderfully whimsical sculpture; I had actually passed it many times before in the daylight, but noticed only of the musical sounds flowing from it. But at night, it was magical! Music and color pulsed and danced together in a way I hadn’t seen before. Experiencing this lovely light show, I suddenly had a wonderful idea for my YA story. What a gift!
This sprang to mind when I read recently that Michael Connelley, a popular novelist with a raft of bestsellers to his name, based one of his books called The Lincoln Lawyer on a real attorney he just happened to meet at a Dodgers game. There are countless tales of writers whose creative juices were sparked by a fruitful chance encounter like this. Perhaps it’s even happened to you.
All of which just underscores the value of putting yourself out there in the world and staying open to anything and everything. That’s surely the idea behind Julia Cameron’s wonderful concept, “The Artist’s Date.” In The Artist’s Way and elsewhere, Julia suggests that we writers refill our creative wells by taking ourselves out someplace new and exciting for a few hours once a week. She sees this as a solo adventure — a little gift we give ourselves to enrich and encourage us to keep pursuing our muse.
While I’m fond of taking artistic forays here and there, I’m not all that systematic about it. But I wonder if there might be something to Julia’s advice to plan a little adventure each and every week. Perhaps consistency on this front is just as important as it is when we write. By taking a regular “Artist’s Date,” we’re signalling to the universe that we’re ready to step off the beaten path in search of ideas, inspiration, and — that sprinkling of fairy dust, serendipity.