Creativity is an odd beast to corner. It doesn’t behave predictably. It isn’t rational. The cliché is that you court the muse, you don’t chase it. But really, courting implies you – as the courter to the courtee – have some modicum of intentional control, the ability to manipulate and to train the muse.
I’m really not sure that’s accurate.
We can chase and cajole and promise the moon with sweet words, but the muse, the creative spark that shapes whatever art we hope to create, still has to have its way at some point. The first draft, the words on the page, the maddening urge to spew letters onto a blank canvas, has to be allowed to go its course before we, as writers or artists or directors or – insert creative outlet here – can pretend to control or tame it by the editing process.
For instance, right now I have a half dozen projects demanding my attention because I sincerely love them and would rather spend my time writing them than at the old 9 to 5. And yet I am in the percolating stage. I am reading, watching movies and tv, enjoying my friends and family’s company, and listening to music in my car as loud as I can stand it. I am absorbing instead of creating anything.
And the muses insist that this is how it should be done. They reward me with fragments and glimpses to put on the page and then send me back out into the world. That’s Stage One. It is a vital part of the creative process. But damned if it isn’t annoying!