Trick or Treat: Unexpected Inspiration
Trick or Treat: A great time to savor the treats of unexpected breakthroughs. As we shed our regular routines and disguise the everyday self, inspiration, Aha! moments, epiphanies, and surprising creative solutions often creep up on us like friendly ghosts.
Hippos gestate for 18 months, fruit flies for twenty-four hours. Everything has its growth process from conception to completion. Leonard Cohen often took years to complete a song, just waiting for the right word to be found, while Duke Ellington wrote the melody for “It Don’t Mean a Thing” during an intermission at Chicago’s Lincoln Tavern in 1931. Nineteenth-century German chemist August Kekulé saw the ring structure of benzene after dreaming of a snake eating its own tail.
Italian playwright Dario Fo painted in between writing projects, John Lennon drew cartoons. Everyone and everything has a timetable and can’t be rushed. Patience, perseverance and plain stick-to-itiveness, though necessary ingredients for completing creative work, aren’t always enough.
Sometimes taking a conscious break from the project is the only way to let the unconscious surface to offer the elusive creative solution. “Chance favors the prepared mind” is the case for not quitting a project when you’ve reached an obstacle. The chance of unexpected inspiration bubbles up because you’ve been working on something intensely and the brain needs a rest in order to receive the “treat.”
In addition to Linda’s story of her unexpected inspiration that led to the mystery novel she’s currently writing, we’re including excerpts from books and articles about how important it is to trick ourselves away from our work to create the conditions for the treat of inspiration to appear.
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