Every time we pick up a pen or lay our fingers on the keys to write, we engage in a process of which much is written, but I wonder how much is really known? We know there is a process… even the most prosaic business letter will have a certain amount of thought and consideration poured into the words in order to elicit the desired effect. How much more so with creative writing?
Thinking it through it seems, like so many other things, to be based on a threefold foundation. There has to be the inspiration that leads to the spark of an idea, then a discussion, either with another person or an internal debate that takes that naked spark and clothes it in imagination; then finally we take action… and from that combination, a phrase is born, taking the insubstantial realm of mind and bringing something new into the world.
You might say that before the words become a concrete reality on the page, their essence has to be conceived, brooded and nurtured in the fastness of the mind in order to become the coherent ideas that emerge as phrases. They come from the formless well of imagination and filter through the muddy layers of mundane thought before they reach the light of day where, if we are lucky, they flower.
We may glean the raw material of an idea whilst watching TV or in conversation, but it is seldom that we can bring them to the page directly and without giving them chance to percolate through the layers of consciousness and emotion, adding something unique and personal, the final ingredient that makes an idea our own.
It is more often in the quiet times, when thought is allowed to roam, that we hear that first little spark of an idea. It may be while our bodies are engaged in some routine task… like ironing or walking… or for many it is the night when ideas flit like ghosts around the landscape of the mind. Either way, it seems that some form of inner stillness is required for us to be best able to listen to the promptings of the imagination. An almost meditative state.
In a world that constantly clamours for our attention, where even our homes are full of beeps and whirrs at an almost subliminal level, there is a greater need than ever to simply switch off for a while and just listen to the wonders born of a seemingly quiet mind and heart.