Have you ever thought where your inspiration comes from and why an idea just pops in your head? I have and so has Elizabeth Gilbert in her book Big Magic. Yes, she was also the one who wrote the incredibly popular book – Eat, Pray, Love.
She says “If inspiration is allowed to unexpectedly enter you, it is also allowed to unexpectedly exit you.”
Elizabeth provides the most incredible example. She was writing a book about an Amazon jungle story. Life got in the way and she did not work on the book for over two years. She sat down to finish it, but could not get back the inspiration.
Then she met another writer Ann Patchett and they became friends through the “lost art of letter-writing” says Elizabeth. About a year later, they meet again and Ann mentions she is working on a book about the Amazon jungle. Elizabeth starts telling her about her book.
Elizabeth says “It was about this middle-aged spinster from Minnesota who’d been quietly in love with her married boss for many years. He gets involved in a harebrained business scheme down in the Amazon jungle. A bunch of money and a person go missing, and my character gets sent down there to solve things, at which point her quiet life is completely turned into chaos. Also, it’s a love story.”
Ann looks at her and says “You have got to be fucking kidding me.” So Elizabeth asks what her novel is about.
Ann says “It’s about a spinster from Minnesota who’s been quietly in love with her married boss for many years. He gets involved in a harebrained business scheme down in the Amazon jungle. A bunch of money and a person go missing, and my character gets sent down there to solve things, at which point her quiet life is completely turned into chaos. Also, it’s a love story.”
Incredible, right? The only differences in their stories was that Elizabeth’s novel took place about 50 years before Ann’s, and hers was a highway construction business while Ann’s was a pharmaceutical company.
It turns out that Ann started her book about a year before when she met Elizabeth. Elizabeth thinks that if you don’t hold onto an idea that it will jump to another person until it is carried through. And she thinks her idea jumped to Ann on the day they met.
Many artists and musicians state that the inspiration comes from above and moves through them rather than created by them. I think that too. When I sit down and write my book or a post, I sometimes feel that I am just a vehicle for the inspiration that comes from above. Steven Pressfield says in “The War of Art” that there are creative muses who give us the inspiration.
Your inspiration can be heavenly sent or come from someone in your life. Use whatever muse works for you. Whether that muse is nature, a person or from above. But use it before it leaves you and grabs onto someone else. If it does leave you, that is okay. Let it go. Maybe it is better shared by someone else because you have other ideas to give the world.
It does not matter where it comes from. It only matters that the inspiration is shared!
“Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.” Ludwig van Beethoven