An artist is typically a being that is filled with so much passion, love, or pain for certain lands, people, ideas, or images that all they can do with that overflow is bleed it out by creating. And with this type of art, the energy will be shifted from the depths of them and into the depths of the audience to be felt. It is a dance. A transference. An intimacy. It is to touch and awaken another human in a place they hadn’t know was aching, or sleeping. Both are opened. Both are nourished. Both are transformed.
“No! I don’t want to! You can’t make me!” Did you ever try to force a toddler do something? I’ve heard the expression, “. . . pushing a chain.” Or think about styling your hair when you only have so much time and even less talent. Maybe you’ve “herded cats.” Can you remember trying to pick up mercury that came out of a broken thermometer?
You know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you—frustration at its highest, which leads to anger and depression and, finally, completely giving up.
Sometimes that happens with words too. You hear the voices whispering something juicy, something that you must write down and sign your name to. You know it has to be a whopper because why else would it keep running through your mind with so much energy? But when you open the door to get up close and personal with the shapes moving and whispering behind that curtain in your head, it vanishes leaving only the hint of laughter and a voice saying, “Fooled you!” Sometimes the words just won’t come out.
The way to beat this is to write anyway. So the words to a particular story don’t want to make an appearance; write words that do. I once read a profound quote: “A writer writes.”
Close your eyes and imagine what the inside of your imagination looks like. Imagine your characters locked behind cell doors. Imagine all the little story starters you have as patients laying on tables in a laboratory waiting for your special jolt of electricity to start them up.
If nothing else, write about the inside of your head.
Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.