That Moment When It Clicks

We all have those moments when it clicks. When doing suddenly becomes infinitely easier.

Perhaps it’s the moment when you are learning to ride a bike and you finally make more than a few inches before scraping your knee.

bike.png
About how it’s going teaching my daughter.

Maybe it’s the moment when you can finally see the image a differential equation represents without needing a graphing calculator. Yeah, that moment didn’t happen for me either.

A friend of mine makes and sells jewelry, and she has repeatedly told me how she’ll be bombarded by ideas one day and then will have no ideas for weeks after. She has to quickly write down the ideas as they come because they are flashes of inspiration. If she doesn’t write them down, they’re gone.

I have my own experience with this on a regular basis. My muse comes and visits me, and together, we can produce one-thousand words in less than an hour. Good words. Stuff that will get refined, but stuff that I think will still be there in the final draft.

Then, there’s the days she doesn’t visit. Like a Saturday not long ago where I managed to squeeze in three hours of writing. I got less than a thousand words during those three hours, and I’m not sure any of them are good.

Magic

But, I did get them down. So, progress. I can edit something that exists, but I can’t edit a blank page.

Still, I understand why people get discouraged. When the muse is here, we can create in hours what would take days of toil. Yet, those days of toil are still important.

You don’t get to ride the bike without the hours of learning put in beforehand. You don’t understand the differential equations in a moment unless you’re that one kid in my second semester calc class. Okay, maybe you never understand them completely, but if you don’t do the work to get there, you’ll never have the chance understand them.

equation
Yeah, I know they’re not differential equations.

I sometimes think this is what inspiration is all about. Basically, the motivational poster that says it’s 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration, yet, I think it’s true even if I’m not much for motivational posters.

I’m trying to treat the hour my muse visits me as the reward for the previous three hours of grinding work. If I just wait for her, she won’t come. She’s waiting for me to put in the work before giving my prize. Maybe I’m right on this, or maybe its complete garbage to make me feel better, but at least it gets stuff done.

 

How about you? Do you find you have to struggle for things and then there’s a magic moment where it clicks? Do you wait for inspiration, or do you plod through? Maybe you were the kid in the back of my class that just “got” differential equations so your muse is always ready to go?

 

 

6 Reasons We Don't Take Good Advice

Whether romantic advice, career advice, or financial advice, there are a a slew of professionals out there that offer it . Some free of charge. Some we pay for. Yet, I (and I suspect many of us) are not always good at taking it.  Even advice we’ve paid for.

How many stories revolve around a hero or heroine not wanting to listen to their aunt, brother, sister, mother, uncle about who the right person is for them? Especially if it turns out that person was right?

After doing some digging, here are the reasons I’ve come up with:

1. The Advice is Bad – We’ve all been given bad advice, even by a professional.Sometimes it’s because we haven’t given them the whole story. Sometimes because they don’t understand. And perhaps sometimes because they really don’t know.

advice2
Tried this. It didn’t work. Co-workers looked at me like I was from Mars.

2. The Advice Conflicts With What We Want – I know i’m guilty of this. Not one, but two financial advisers told me not to try to pay off my mortgage as quickly as possible. I didn’t want to hear them. I lived through the Great Recession and remember how much belt-tightening we had to do to get through it when our primary income was cut by 50%. I don’t ever want to go through that again.

advice

3. Discouraging –  You see this less with professional advice as they are (usually) in the business to help you succeed.

4. Gut Instinct Takes You Another Direction – This is so nebulous, but sometimes, you just know something is wrong. It intrudes on your thoughts during quiet times. You find yourself mulling it over again and again. I have no idea what gut instinct is, (although I suspect it’s your brain working on a problem in the background) but it seems to be right most of the time.

5. It Differs From Other Advice You’ve Gotten – This is always difficult, especially when you’ve gotten advice from two professionals or two very trusted friends/family members.

6. Anger – Or other negative emotions make us much less likely to take even good advice. Here are other good reasons from real psychologists. Granted, these are mostly work related, but they could be applicable.

 

I guess this means I need to look at Point #2 and reconsider the advice an editor gave me on my manuscript. Just because I don’t want it to be true, doesn’t make it wrong.

 

 

How about you? How willing are you to take advice? What makes you willing or unwilling to take advice? How about offer it?