Yet again, the great 19th Century American thinker and writer gives us a statement that is simple yet profound. For creative work it is especially true. That first idea or spark of inspiration is like a seed. It falls upon us, then, sometimes in the light, sometimes in the dark subconscious, it germinates and grows. Sometimes the growth is fast and sometimes it is slow, taking years or even decades to fully emerge. As a creative writer, moments of stillness and reflection are as important as the time spent actually writing. Time to simply be, time to ponder and wonder…they are everything.
The great German genius Johann Wolfgang von Goethe loved to walk out in nature, and I am sure that the beauty of nature and the space afforded by these moments were key influences on his work. In many respects, modern life is the enemy of true art. There is a never-ending stream of information, noise, talk and entertainment bombarding many of us every moment of every day. There are the endless texts, Tweets, social media updates and calls clamoring for our attention, there are television shows and films begging to be watched, and everywhere we go there seems to be a radio blaring pop music, ads or talkback at us. Art and writing need space to bud and grow. Make time in your life for it. Take a walk in the park or a hike out in nature. Sit on the beach and just watch the weaves roll in. Step outside on a clear night and look up at the wonder of the night sky (if light pollution does not prevent it), or stop and see the moon come up. Do a little quiet gardening and calmly mull. Nature is the first and greatest creator. There is something about being out in nature that fructifies and invigorates, something about getting closer to this primal force of creation that breathes life into your art.
“None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
And if you do not give yourself some moments of silence, you will never hear it.