State of Mind

It is a well known misunderstanding that inspiration will come to the artist like a divine light from the heavens, and he will create his best work when sprinkled with the magic stuff most mortals don’t have. Talent, combined with the magic dust is what makes an artist. The untalented masses are merely consumers of the arts and will never fully understand the minds of the creative geniuses.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, sometimes an idea sparks a fire in the writer’s mind and a masterpiece is born. Most of the time though, it’s keeping at it. Having a schedule and not neglecting your work.

keep-calm-and-open-minded-3Paul McCartney once said that the reason he went straight to the studio to record his first solo album after the Beatles, was to keep going. He was afraid that if he’d take a year off, he wouldn’t be able to get back into it. This state of mind an artist finds himself in when on a roll.

I work a lot and we are rebuilding the attic. I haven’t touched my novel in over two weeks. It’s work and DIY. This morning, I had around two hours to play with, so I fired up Scrivener and got ready to write. I sat there, looking at the words I had written previously. Nothing happened. It was like a boring school assignment. I just couldn’t get into it.

It’s not that this part of the novel is boring. It is a turning point, a confrontation. I have gone through it a few times and I know it’s one of the key moments in the book. The scene wasn’t the problem. I was.

I had allowed myself to float to the surface. I couldn’t dive deep into the mind where the magic is found. I have been thinking only of work and screws that needed to be drilled into wood. I had lost contact with my creative self. I had become one of the supposedly talentless masses.

Talent isn’t a gift. It is a state of mind. I slipped out of it and will have to work on getting myself back into it. That’s all there is to it. Talent and inspiration comes to the open mind and it’s up to us not to close it.

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