Where does your inspiration come from?
Some people believe in Muses; beautiful-floaty-sparkly-external beings that have the power to gift you with inspiration and brilliance, or withdraw it if you piss them off and don’t give them enough attention.
Others believe that it comes from a place deep within yourself, your subconscious mind, which is like a treasure chest waiting to be explored.
Anne Lamott has written a brilliant book titled “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life”, and in it she explains that her inspiration comes from listening to her intuition – or listening to the broccoli.
“There’s an old Mel Brooks routine….where the psychiatrist tells his patient, ‘Listen to your broccoli, and your broccoli will tell you how to eat it.’ …when you don’t know what to do, when you don’t know whether your character would do this or that, you get quiet and try to hear that still small voice inside. It will tell you what to do. The problem is that so many of us lost access to our broccoli when we were children. When we listened to our intuition when we were small and then told the grown-ups what we believed to be true, we were often either corrected, ridiculed, or punished. God forbid you should have your own opinions or perceptions – better to have head lice.”
Anne’s advice can be applied to every part of life, whether you are a writer or not. People need inspiration, whether you are packing your child’s lunchbox, having a brain-storming session, preparing a marketing proposal or planning a holiday.
When last have you gotten quiet and tried to hear that small voice inside? When was the last time that you listened to your intuition and not to the clamoring, blathering and utterly ignorant blabbering in your own head?
I know that I haven’t been listening to that small voice for a while now and that it is time to get back to my broccoli.
My favourite quote from Anne’s book is this:
“Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.”