Nearly two years ago, as I was meeting with my drama troupe to brainstorm some ideas for out Christmas show, someone said, “Hey, why don’t we do something with the twelve days of Christmas.” I said okay, opened my laptop, started WORD, and named a document “Something of the Twelve Days of Christmas.”
The document was completely empty except for the title.
And so it sat for the past one and half years.
I was working on a musical piece for Christmas 2017, yes I work ahead, and when I finished revising some lyrics, I saved the piece and cruised quickly through the document folder. I came across some “unfinished ideas” and I saw the title “Something of the Twelve Days of Christmas.” And as I read that document title, I suddenly know what the ‘something’ was. It was obvious, plain, easy, right within sight. All I had to do was start writing.
Thirty minutes later I had fleshed out my idea and then today I nearly finished the first draft of this new piece called “The Twelve Days of Christmas Revisited.”
It’s going to be a really funny and fun piece to produce. I just find it strange that for a year and a half I didn’t know what the ‘something’ was, but yet yesterday, it was as plain as a blinking beacon on top of the Eifel Tower.
Why? Why did I know what to write yesterday but I didn’t have a clue what to write a year and a half ago when I was first presented with this idea?
I have no idea.
That’s the mystery of creativity. It rears its head unexpectedly. It cannot be summoned or ordered into the court of creativity. It bursts through the doors as it sees fit, in its own timing, at its own pace, with its own ideas.
I love that.
I don’t always love that. Sometimes I want the inspiration to rest heavily on my shoulders like Milton—a divine light from the heavens revealing its truth—but creativity is the most finicky of hobbies. The only thing a creative person can do is:
- Attempt when the inspiration hasn’t hit.
- Write down ideas, even vague ones.
- Be patient.
- Press forward with inferior ideas, hoping that one poor idea will lead to one better idea.
- Wait some more.
If you do that, the ‘something’ will come back around. It will define itself and you’ll be in the position to write or create something meaningful. That’s all you can hope for.
Now get waiting!