Creativity and Joyful Effort
“Here’s how the Muse works.
Each day she makes her rounds […] carrying her bag full of ideas. She’s a bit like St. Nick, only instead of giving gifts to children she gives ideas to artists. To Beethoven she gives da-da-da-dum, to Stephen King she offers Carrie.
When the Muse gets to your place, she looks down from her little rocket ship. Are you in the studio? Before the easel? At the keyboard?
You’re not? Okay. The goddess cuts you some slack for this truant day. She’ll check back tomorrow.
What? You’re not on the job then either? Or the day after that?
The Muse’s brow begins furrowing. You are disappointing her. She’s starting to get a little pissed off. Could it be that you don’t really want her help?
Instead let’s imagine the Muse cruising past your place on Monday. There you are, hard at work. Same thing Tuesday. Wednesday too.
Ah, now you have made the goddess smile! She likes your style, she digs the way you roll. (By the way, the Muse doesn’t hold it against you if you can only spare her an hour a day, or even if you miss days because you have to work to feed your family. The goddess can read your mind. She recognizes your honorable intentions. As long as you are showing her the proper respect, you remain on her Good Boy List.)
How does she reward you?
She gives you the breakthrough for Act Two. The idea pops into your head while you’re in the shower, or on the subway, or walking your Doberman.
You think it’s your idea. It’s not. It’s hers. She gave it to you.
Is this magic? A miracle? No, it’s common as dirt.
It’s how creativity works.
We show up. We do our best. Good things happen.
This is the intersection of Hard Work and Inspiration.”
– Steven Pressfield