When the muse comes looking for you, she better find you writing.Gregory A Fournier
As a creative, I am continually seeking the ever-elusive creative spark. That magic moment when a sparkly new idea grabs my imagination and tantalises me with all the possibilities.
A spark is a possibility, but without an immediate source of fuel to feed it, it will disappear as quickly as it appeared. Often we sit in front of the blank pages and canvases of our life waiting for the spark of creativity to alight on us before we begin. The reality is that very few great works were ever created in the sterile vacuum of waiting. Most great works are formed amongst the messiness of failure and mediocrity. It is through the tenacious commitment of showing up and creating sub-standard work that the new and revolutionary work can appear.
Gregory A Fournier put it this way, “When the muse comes looking for you, she better find you writing.” The magical moment where all is contained entirely in our mind is a fun place to play! However, even when we know our real-life creations and experiences will stand lacking compared to the masterpieces that lived in our mind, we must be brave. We must bring them forth regardless of the final outcome. The creative spark requires a pre-prepared kindling waiting to nourish the flame when it comes, and often time the fuel for the great ideas are flamed by the work that didn’t quite work.
But there is also a cautionary reminder in this analogy.
Over the last few months, the world has watched on as Australia has burned. A few sparks have devasted swathes of earth, unlike anything our collective consciousness can remember. As experts have waded in, the mutual agreement has been that the land was primed to burn. Unusually high summer temperatures, consecutive record-breaking drought seasons, and shifting wind patterns all set the stage for the perfect firestorm. When the spark came, the conditions that sat waiting were prepared to destroy.
Our unique gifts and talents can be life-giving, but they can also become destructive when not carefully nurtured. In the same way, we can set the stage for destruction in our own life with the same three ingredients that create firestorms.
- We live continually in the heat and pressure of a busy schedule.
Trying to shove one more thing into an already packed schedule can lead to frustration and anger over the lack of time resources. Carving out intentional time and space to follow your curiosities and passions is essential.
- We neglect to water our own souls.
We must care and water all parts of our being by nourishing our body with joy-filling movement and nurturing food. Our minds need to be fed books and information that expands our world, and our soul with caring friendships and connections that reach farther and deeper than our own skin.
- We allow ourselves to be blown around by other’s opinions and expectations.
The most dangerous part of a firestorm is changing winds. In the same way, when our lives become filled with expectations, to-do-list, and people-pleasing, we lose our anchor and we are blown in all directions.
We must lean into the tension of these two extremes if we want to see our gifts and talents grow. The muse must find us working when she finds us, but at the same time, we need to prepare safe conditions for the spark of inspiration to alight too. As you reflect on your own circumstances is there unsafe kindling that needs to be removed or is there a clean-sterile space that needs to be filled with some messy and imperfect work.