Where does creative inspiration come from?

Now that I’ve graduated from my masters, I’ve had more time to focus on my creative work.

But how do you turn off that editorial side of your brain? As a journalist, I’ve become accustomed to writing and editing almost simultaneously.

Up until recently, I found it a challenge to completely immerse myself in being creative (photo by June Campbell).

I had ideas floating around in my head, like snapshots of the way a scene could be. I like to let them develop, because they often spark another scene, or an ending I didn’t expect. So sometimes I don’t write my scenes out, if they haven’t quite formed yet. Or is that it’s too scary to actually put the words down?

Credit: Jem Yoshioka
Credit: Jem Yoshioka

Then I met a friend of mine for a cuppa. He told me about how he stays up until 4am sketching and drawing, completely dedicating himself to his art. Yes, he’s making a living out of it, but the reason he does it is because he can’t do anything else. It’s what drives him, what pushes him to try harder and do better, and what makes him happy.

That’s how I feel about writing. So when I went home after meeting him, I wrote more than I’d written in a long time. I didn’t even know I could write that much in one evening.

What was odd was that it wasn’t even the genre I feel most comfortable with. It wasn’t part of a novel or even a short story. My words came out as poetry.

Credit: Nana B Agyei
Credit: Nana B Agyei

And I felt so much better when I’d written it. I had splashed my thoughts and feelings on the page, not delicately, or planned, or even with an idea of where the poem was going to go, but literally as the words came to me I wrote them, without thinking. And I can’t wait to do that again.

Here’s a video with author Elizabeth Gilbert talking about that drive to keep creating:

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