So normally, I am not an eavesdropper. Just ask anyone. I am the daintiest, most well mannered southern belle you have ever met. (hey, I hear you snorting over there!)
But this past weekend at Storymakers, I made the rare exception and listened in to Howard Taylor, author of the awesome comic Schlock Mercenary and more, talk to an aspiring author about productivity. And more interestingly for me, inspiration. He likened the voice of inspiration to that of the Holy Ghost. The more you listen and act, the more it speaks to you.
BOOM CRASH Mind blown.
I have always thought of creativity just like any other muscle, you might be a creative person, but you have to exercise that aspect regularly for it to grow. It is an ingrained part of me, so when writer's block strikes, I feel like an amputee. But thinking on Howard's terms, I just kept expounding and expanding on the principle of the spirit.
Sometimes, when I am busy with life, I just cannot receive revelation. Aside from my daily nonsense, I am doing all the right things: go to church, temple, whatever; but I am stressed like crazy, and of course that is when I need the spirit the most. Same things apply to writing. When a deadline looms, sometimes I cannot think of single non cliched thing to type out. Nothing new and certainly nothing that retains my narrative voice. That is when I need it the most and though I am trying so hard and working at it, the muse will not come.
My answer was to just try harder. But I think I will try a new approach, the one the gospel teaches. Clear my mind and let the cares of the world slip away. Listen to the still small voice and act on every prompting. We all know what that means in the spiritual sense, but in a writing sense that means jotting down every idea. Even if you can't use it in your current manuscript. Even if it's about vampires and completely unsellable at this point. Write it down and file it away, but get it out.
So often when either the Holy Ghost or inspiration speaks, I am to busy... being busy. I recognize the thought as a good idea and file it in my brain. Then I promptly forget it because of all the other crap I am cramming in. How many times have I not taken a card to a sick neighbor? How many bestsellers have I let rot away in the cobwebbed recesses of my mind?
But no more! From this day forth I will keep my little notebook and write down ideas, even the ones with sparkly abs. I will listen and really actively hear.
I will even eavesdrop more often, because who knows what other little nuggets of wisdom I am missing out on.