Ideas are visitors

People, and writers in particular, seem to be a bit freaked out by the fact that true creative involvement can feel much like a full-time flirtation with madness. It can be difficult to know how to handle creative impulses, in other words.

I’ve come to think of visitors in really concrete terms. Like walking metaphors, I picture the ideas that come to me as embodying a human form that knocks on the door. Every idea does this. Sometimes they bang. Sometimes they make themselves comfortable and refuse to leave until they are at least acknowledged and entertained.

Considering every idea as a visitor – for anyone who has ever hosted a party – creates some valuable perspective and space.

When all of the unconsidered ideas milling in my head start to stress me out, I just imagine visitors waiting comfortably in my living room with a nice cup of tea. They’re visitors in every sense. They are not me and I am not their slave.

It might seem odd to think of ideas so concretely or in such humanized terms. But as a writer and a creative spirit, I’m the one who has to live with ideas coming and going constantly.

I’m the one who can’t sleep or gets woken up, the one who stresses out when I can’t find a pen and paper fast enough. The one who has to live with the bitter taste of almost being able to grasp and translate an idea onto paper, only to have it slip away. So for now, ideas can come and go as they please. If they don’t feel like sticking around, I don’t stress it anymore.

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