I often ponder this question. Given I’m a writer it seems particularly pertinent to me. But I wonder about it in a general sense too. I often worry about if there is a finite element to it – once you’ve used up your quota of inspiration, will that be it? Or is it an endless thing – that like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors, that if you feed it your blood, sweat and tears, it will grow.
Sometimes it does feel rather monstrous – something that takes hold of me and won’t let me sleep or properly concentrate on other things with any sense of satisfaction until I’ve given it free reign and let it out to run around wildly for a while, spilling words out onto the page. I often look at those words later on and think to myself – ‘Wow! Did I write that?’ I often can’t really remember writing those words. Which is fine, because most of it is rubbish and it’s good to blame that on some out of head experience, but some of those words are pretty bloody good.
So, who is responsible for those words?
Is it me? Or is it my Muse? Is it something essential inside me – part of my character that will always be there, ready to tap into whenever I want to? Or is it something on loan from some greater being and could be taken away from me at any time? How do I cope with the answer being ‘yes’ to either question? How do others cope? When they have success, do they too wonder if it’s just an ephemeral dream, a one off thing, or if there is longevity to it; something that I can repeat again and again, get better and better at and add to that original dream of success (having a published novel) and turn it into multiple successes?
Is this my own version of a psychotic break, worrying and wondering about all this stuff?
I’m glad to say that it isn’t. I’m not alone in these thoughts. And if you’ve had them, you’re not alone either.
My lovely sister-in-law, Alice, sent me a link to a TED talk with Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. I have never actually read this novel (I know, many of you will be thinking this is impossible for a lover of romantic fiction, but I like my romance more fantastical than realistic – the reason why I mostly read paranormal, fantasy and historical romance with some romantic suspense thrown in.) But, despite the fact I have never read her hugely popular novel, I really enjoyed her talk. I really related to what she had to say and I think, if you are someone who creates anything (which most of us are), then you will perhaps relate to it too.
So, like Alice shared it with me, I am now sharing it with you. Enjoy.