Where it comes from

I’ve been somewhat isolated up here in Alaska. I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve gotten a lot reading done, worked on a couple of projects, though not nearly as many as I should have (yet). But while I’m writing now every day, I’m wondering how much “water” is in the well.

That is, how many ideas can I pull out of my current situation?

Here, or anywhere, that can sometimes be a difficult thought.

I don’t recall which Seth Godin book I read this in, but Johnny B. Truant said: “You don’t hear plumbers complaining about plumber’s block.” (Found this quirky counterargument that, yes, plumbers can get plumbers’ block…).

People using creativity can get stifled. It happens. Stephen King doesn’t let it happen, by setting up his time to write in routine. Every morning he sits down and writes. The thoughts don’t get in the way.

Neil Gaiman also: when he sits down to write, he can either write or do nothing. By nothing, he’s talking about any other tangible task. He’ll sit there and think, stare out at the scenery, and basically let his mind wander.

And that’s what shower ideas are so damn useful! And sometimes annoying, because, you know, if you want to write that idea down, you’re in the shower and paper and pen aren’t really nearby. And you’re wet.

There was a podcast I listened to at some point, could have been three years ago, or eight, or anytime between. I don’t remember when. But the guest was talking about writing music. And how the muse would strike at the most inopportune times, like driving down the road. The tune would just fully form. But, the guest was driving, and at the time this was happening I’d assume there weren’t recording devices on cellphones.

So this guest made a deal with the muse. I’ll paraphrase what I remember, but it went like, “Muse. I’ll give you ample time to lead me in creativity. But it has to be the times that I’m able to use what you’re giving me. So, no more coming to me when I’m driving. I’ll sit down and open myself up to you every day, and that’s when you’ll visit.”

And it worked for the guest. (No, I don’t recall who the guest was, or even if it a male or a female. Only that it was a songwriter.)

All that is to say, the ideas can come from anywhere. As long as you’re open to them.



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