When Inspiration Strikes You Better Be Prepared to Catch.
Inspiration Will Not Wait For You:
“Still get jealooouuussss!”
Other drivers give me the side eye as they watch me sing my lungs out to Nick Jonas (don’t judge me). I think I’m pretty cool though, juggling the steering wheel in one hand and a handful of waffle fries in the other. Savory, hot, perfectly crisp waffle fries. The windows are down, the sun is out, and I’m about to– WHAM. That sentence I’ve been waiting on to complete chapter 3 hits me like a speeding train. I shake my fist in the air and yell to the sky, “NO NO NOT RIGHT NOW I’M DRIVING! No God, PLEASE NOOOOO!” But it’s not waiting for me and it laughs in my face at my assumption to think that it would. Hah!
Inspiration Has No Manners:
A friend is pouring their heart out to me. Like “the world is ending” pouring. I’m practicing my active listening, nodding occasionally, saying uh-huh and yeah when I’m supposed to. I think I’m doing a good job balancing their voice amongst the others in this coffee shop.
Spoke too soon.
Something they say flips a switch in my brain that triggers a sea of words. They pour out like a broken gum ball machine and start to form sentences. Good sentences. The kind I want to write down. I gotta write this down. UGH! Why now WHY NOW!? I think the pain is showing in my face because my friend asks me what’s wrong.
Meanwhile my brain is having a party up there and I’m down here, not catching metaphorical gum balls.
Inspiration Doesn't Care If You're Tired:
Long day. A really really long day. The type of day that makes you want to crawl under the sheets and never come out. I turn the light off and don’t bother changing into my sweatpants. I’m drifting and my eyes feel heaaaavy. The REM cycle is about to work its magic. And then…yeah, here we go again. AGHHHHHHH WHYYYEEEE!!! I bury my head in the pillow and let out a small scream.
See a pattern yet? The thing is you don’t get to choose when inspiration strikes. Sure you can sit down in front of the computer and gear up to write. I do that almost every day now and some pretty cool things have come from it when I do. But sometimes the really good stuff comes to us when we least expect it. That’s when I began to look at these inconveniences as unexpected opportunities instead. All you have to do is have the right tools to catch them. You know, like Ghostbusters. Ok not really:
How to Catch The Inspiration:
Voice Memo. This is a must have when your driving. Obviously you shouldn’t risk your life for an idea unless it’s guaranteed gold…then by all means risk away (kidding). Go the safer route instead and dictate your words. You can always play them back to yourself once you get in front of your notebook or laptop. Go ahead, let out a sigh of relief, the waffle fries are safe.
Focus. Inspiration is sure to flee if you can’t focus. But not too hard. Don’t overthink it. Relax and free your mind like Morpheus.
Pen and Notepad. Simple enough right? Keep a few of these everywhere. By your nightstand, in your backpack, in the kitchen, at work. Don’t leave home without these. I left home yesterday without them and freaked until I found an old receipt buried deep in the underbelly of my purse. Saved. Thank you BP gas station.
Drop the Ego. Seriously drop it. Inspiration hates it. It can’t work with you and feed you ideas if you think you’ve already got a handle on everything. Wiggle around a bit and let go of the perfectionism because what you write the first round won’t be perfect. That’s ok.
Oh and lastly you have to want it. No you must want it. If you don’t you‘ll keep making excuses for it and forget about it all together. What if that sentence that came to you in the middle of the night was the birth of a great novel? The end to an amazing essay? What if it was the difference between accomplishing your dream or abandoning it? Which is fine if that’s what you want.
But it’s not what I want.
I want to tell good stories. And too often I think I might’ve had those good stories but let them slip through my fingers because I was too lazy to write them. Thinking they’d magically reappear on my terms. Pssssh. Lies.
So friends, catch those ideas when they’re fresh in your mind.
Catch the clever words that slip through the cracks of your busy day. Catch the ideas that won’t let you sleep at night. Catch the bizarre twilight zone-ish fantasies. Write them down. Go right now and do it. I promise it’ll turn into something you didn’t know you were capable of creating, and all because you were prepared to catch this time.
*All photos taken by me unless otherwise stated. Please ask permission before using.