Ok, so it’s 6am and it’s Saturday and with no work to go to, I am needlessly wide awake and have been for some time. Why? Because an idea has taken hold of me and is refusing to relent. This is the beginning…
I wonder if this is the way it happens for everyone. I spend weeks fighting a paradoxical compulsion and resistance to work, desperately trying to force an idea and justifying not getting down to the nitty gritty on a lack of inspiration. Then, without invitation, an idea pops into my head and takes me unawares. Wow, if I was difficult to be around in all my grumpiness last week, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
It’s free-fall from now on in. The thoughts rush at me haphazard and fledgling formed. It’s chaos and unless I jump out of bed right this instant and grab my notebook (tripping over my duvet and stubbing my toes on the door on the way out) I might lose some of the best bits. I then hurry to write everything down in an illegible shorthand, that even I will struggle to decipher by the time morning comes around. Then it’s just me, my pen and paper in a quiet room for an inestimable amount of time. I need total silence – Don’t look at me, don’t talk to me, don’t even breathe next to me. Creative people make for difficult housemates.
The first stage of this process is beyond exciting, an adrenaline rush of sorts. You get carried away, anything is possible, the restraints placed on you in the everyday are no longer in place. In the cold harsh light of day when the heady rush has began to subside however, you are forced to face facts: I probably won’t be able to fly this thing half way around the world, staged on the edge of the Grand Canyon, my audience overhead from the seat of a helicopter. Instead, I will probably have to rely on a mate’s rates black-box, charity shop costumes and an ipod soundtrack. A little less glamorous but who cares, I’m on to something.
Next, is what I term the hunter-gatherer phase. I begin an obsessive collection of relevant items, which if you were wondering, is everything by the way. Every line I read, film I see, snippet of conversation overheard, change in the weather, is meant for me. Everything is a perfect fit, its fate. Some may liken this to egotism but that’s just the way it goes.
The disorderly nature of a creative compulsion contradictorily affords clarity of vision. Senses are heightened and everything is illuminated; nothing is taken for granted and you become acutely aware that everything around you serves a purpose – yours. It is the editing you undertake later that decides what makes it into the final cut. But I’m in no rush, I love this part. I’m going to take my time and enjoy the plummet for a bit longer before I deploy the parachute.
Becci writes our Hedda Gabbler blogs each Monday. Read the rest of her blogs here.