I also used to believe in the Easter Bunny.
I mean, who doesn't want to believe that some magical benevolence hops into your life and deposits chocolate and the BIG idea, right into your basket? No work, no money to exchange hands, no sweat? It would be the greatest thing ever. And sooooo much easier than the reality.
It's not to say that once in a great while, lightning doesn't strike. There are those times, like winning lotteries and a good parking space in downtown Princeton on a Friday night. There are genius ideas that come in dreams. But it's lightning. And how long do you have to wait in between strikes, or for it to strike at all? Answer: Usually a LONG ASS TIME.
So. What to do.
I have the answer. I'm not gonna lie to you: it's not glamorous, or even that appealing. You ready? Here it is:
STOP WISHING. START DOING.
Start writing. Start painting. Start making. Start creating. Every day. When you're tired. When you have a headache. Upside down. In your jammies. Uncaffeinated. Super-caffeinated. When the kids are fighting. And especially, when you don't want to. The most important time to do it is when you find yourself sighing, or cursing, at the screen, at the canvas, at the block of clay. I hate this, you'll think. Why am I doing this? I have not one whiff of an idea in my head.
I'm not gonna lie; I've made a lot of crap and written a LOT of crap. Mountains of it, truth be told. But when I look back on it all, even the crap has something to say. It gives me a record of where I've been, what I was thinking, roads I don't want to take. But often, I find a kernel, a path, an idea, somewhere to go or explore. There is value in all of it.
Creating something from nothing is a really hard thing. Really hard. It's a skill and a skill takes time, and practice. Lots of practice. It's hard work. But I think it's where the lightning lives.
"Inspiration is the windfall from hard work and focus.
Muses are too unreliable to keep on the payroll."
-- Helen Hanson