There’s this old guy in the city who shines shoes. Maybe you’ve seen him.
His name’s Nathaniel Brewster (The Third) and he’s always there on the same street corner between 8am and 10am every morning of every day, with his stool, his step, his rags and his bag, giving people the cleanest shoes they’ve ever known. More shiny even than the day they bought them.
Nathaniel’s been doing this for the last seven years and knows literally thousands of people. He’s never short of business and frequently queues of a dozen people or more wait patiently for the expertise of his service, the warm charm of his conversation, and the genuine sense of happiness and dedication to his work that he exudes.
Now, maybe having your shoes shined isn’t a service you need, personally. But if you did ever need it, you’d know exactly where to go and when to go there.
If anyone you knew ever asked you if you knew a place to get your shoes shined, you’d recommend Nathaniel in a second.
Could you say the same about your availability and dedication as an artist?
Do your ideas, your inspiration, your muse – or whatever you wish to call it – know exactly where and when to find you?
Let call it your muse for the rest of this conversation. If your muse knows you’re going to be sitting there at your desk, in your studio, at your canvas, at 8am every day, she’s going to have no trouble visiting you often, and finding you ready and waiting to create.
The more available you make yourself, the more often your muse will come, the longer she will stay, and the more deeply she will touch you.
What if our man Nathaniel only turned up to his street corner about once a fortnight, and even then at unpredictable times? Do you think he’d have met thousands of people and have dozens of people queuing up for his services daily?
Of course not. People would get fed up with his unpredictably, however amazing his service, and they’d go elsewhere.
Maybe your muse has been going elsewhere because she’s fed up with having incredible ideas but not knowing where you are to share them with.
Maybe she’s been giving the best ideas, the richest veins of inspiration, to some other artist in the next town who does show up at their desk/ studio/ canvas at the same time each day. Maybe she’s been cheating on you for weeks, months, years.
Make it easy for yourself, and your muse. Let her know exactly where you’re going to be and when.
You only need to show up in the same place at the same time for a short time each day.
It’s not a difficult commitment to make if your creativity is important to you. Which I know it is, that’s why we’re hearing talking about shining shoes and cheating muses.
I don’t have a complex multi-layered plan to help you with this. And you don’t need one.
The way forward is simple: Show up at the same place and time every day and just create what comes for at least 15 minutes.
Yes, sometimes it might seem like you’re creating nonsense. Sometimes this nonsense will evolve into brilliance. Sometimes the brilliance will come straight off, without any disguise or delay, like delicious sticky yellow honey freshly gathered from the hive.
The more often you show up, the easier it’ll be for that incredible art within you to come to life.
And I’m sure that’s what you, me, the shoe shine guy and your muse ALL want to see.
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