The Urgent Need to Create: Mania or Inspiration?
Has this ever happened to you? It's like this little frenzied spirit starts to whisper in my mind: "Ooo! wouldn't this be cool?" "What would happen if you...?" "I think this idea would be awesome!" And it keeps niggling at me until I just have to do something about it.
I hope it's not a symptom of mania. This weekend, I had this...creative urge to make something pretty. To make something new. To make something that's purely me. So I ditched my original blog idea and ended up getting about 4 hours of sleep while I dove into a new copywriting project that I'm really, REALLY excited about.
Typically, these creative urges come with a hefty price-tag because I'll end up re-doing my wardrobe or re-decorating my home. It's terribly inconvenient when the impulses happen when I'm broke.
This was one of those terribly inconvenient times.
However, my creative spirit seemed to understand my financial straits because she reminded me that I had a spare Squarespace account that I had already paid for...what if I did something with it? You know...just to fool around.
But..my Yarn post. I needed to work on it and get it published by Monday.
Oh, that's right (the spirit took a moment to drum her fingers pensively upon my frontal lobe). Well, what if your Yarn post is about working on this hypothetical new website?
What if...Ooo! What if this website will help you target that tribe that you've been trying to define in your previous posts?
As someone who works in a creative field, it's my job to take heed when a creative spirit chooses to advise me. Her plan was sound.
So, I came up with www.mommybloggerforhire.com.
It's a specialty site for female entrepreneurs in parenting/baby/children's/maternity product and services industries who need fresh blog posts written from a mom's point of view. It's a niche that I'd love to pursue since I have so much to say on the subject of motherhood and all the issues facing modern moms. That isn't to say I want to pursue the niche to the exclusion of my freelance copywriting services for marketing professionals and SME businesses; Mommy Blogger for Hire is one brand of my overall freelance business.
My little sprite wasn't through with me, apparently, because as I was putting the finishing touches on the About page for Mommy Blogger for Hire, a little whisper said:
"You need a blog to go with that site, you know.
A mommy blog.
But not just any mommy blog.
A mommy blog about stuff that you're genuinely curious about. A mommy blog about discovering awesome moms throughout history that can act as role models to modern mamas.
A blog about bad-ass mothers."
Thus Bad-Ass Motherblogger was born.
Bad. Ass. Mother. Blogger.
I love it so much, you guys. I don't care if I get a quadrillion readers or a trickle of a couple dozen (okay, I care a little bit); I get to write Bad-ass motherblogging posts about the history of motherhood.
so am i insane or inspired?
I know I'm not alone in getting caught up in a wave of creativity, nor am I the only one to anthropomorphize the source of ideas that sometimes flood me: one of my favorite songwriters, Tori Amos, famously thanks "the faeries" in most of her album acknowledgements. Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert gave a TED Talk on the origins of genius and how the ancients believed that a genius was a kind of guiding house spirit that acted as a steward for ideas (kind of like a "Dobby the House Elf of Innovation".) If you'd like to see the Gilbert's TED Talk, you can watch it in its entirety on my previous post on creativity.
Also, the very origin of the word "inspiration" has the connotation that ideas spring from an external source: according to the Online Etymology Dictionary (one of my favorite sources of word geekery), the word comes from:
c. 1300, "immediate influence of God or a god," especially that under which the holy books were written, from Old French inspiracion "inhaling, breathing in; inspiration," from Late Latin inspirationem (nominative inspiratio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin inspirare "inspire, inflame, blow into," from in- "in" (see in- (2)) +spirare "to breathe" (see spirit). Literal sense "act of inhaling" attested in English from 1560s. Meaning "one who inspires others" is attested by 1867.
Throughout history, however, creativity has often been associated with madness. The "mad genius" archetype exists in literature for a reason. Father of mathematics Pythagoras, for example, not only came up with the quadratic equation, he also founded his own religion in which the consumption of beans, the use of highways, and stepping over crossbars were forbidden. By most accounts, Winston Churchill suffered from bipolar disorder and was at his most prolific when he was in a hypomanic period. He penned 43 books on political discourse and countless correspondences.
Since I have a family history of depression (and my own mental illness inspired me to follow my passion for writing), maybe these surges of creativity that seize me and won't let me go until I act upon them are a symptom of hypomania., after all. But considering the rich legacy that artistic and scientific maniacs throughout time have given the world, I'm going to choose to breathe in and embrace my mania...or my House Elf...or whatever it is...and see where it takes me.
And while I really love those moments when I'm visited by the Frenzied Spirit of Creativity, I have to say, I'm glad she doesn't stay for long. Because while she loves a good idea, that chick sure hates sleep.
I'm going to bed now.