That "Eureka" moment. Some people are familiar with it. Others crave it and yet don't know what it's called. Or they know about the notion of a "Eureka" moment without truly understanding what it is or how it works.
A quick search (thanks a bunch, Pegasus Project!) gives us the following: "'Eureka' comes from the Ancient Greek word εὕρηκα heúrēka, meaning "I have found (it)", which is the first person singular perfect indicative active of the verb heuriskō "I find".
And of course there is the famous story of how it entered the public consciousness, how the Greek
|Archimedes, I feel your pain, big guy....|
I had one of those this morning.
And it was everything I thought it could be.
Now, I believe those folks who preach that success in writing, as with many creative endeavors, is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Hard work trumps flights of fancy, and pays off damned near every time.
A good friend of mine from both high school and grad school was one of those "inspiration" guys. This guy is a certified genius. I think of the ancient Roman definition of "genius" (hey, they invented the word, after all), how it was supposedly a household spirit that would occasionally whisper in your ear, and I swear that my friend must have inherited Einstein's household spirit. He's that brilliant. I could sit with him and listen to him reel off creative idea after creative idea after creative idea. He had more Eureka moments in one sitting than I've had during my entire life.
And he's never done a damned thing with it. Not. One. Thing.
I know a number of people on the other end of the spectrum- hard workers who have fashioned incredibly successful writing careers for themselves- grinders who put in the time, do the work, meet that deadline. And I am happy for each and every one of them.
I look back on my own career and really do see myself as a member of the latter category. I like to think of myself as hard-working when it comes to my writing, even diligent. I'm one of those grinders. I am proud of the hard work I've done.
And yet I have had those "Eureka" moments.
Not many of them. And certainly never enough to suit me. But each time I had one I was really, deeply, profoundly stuck. Then in a flash I get the sudden inspiration popping up in my head seemingly out of nowhere, and presto! I've got it1 Eureka! And the world changes.
But none of these moments has been more welcome than the one I had this morning, driving to work. Out of nowhere I had the solution to the problem that had me stuck in neutral on this project for months!
And what caused it? Was I able to precipitate it? I think what brought about this happy event was a confluence of factors:
1. The long illness from which I've suffered since early Autumn has (finally) begun to wane. Being sick? Hell of a distraction!
2. I went back through the work-in-progress to help me get the story straight in my head.
3. I went back and re-read every story fragment, outline, plot idea written on a cocktail napkin in my possession.
One, all or some esoteric combination of these factors somehow helped unlock the door to my internal inspiration, and at 7:57 AM PST this morning (Yes, I actually checked the time when it happened, I was SO THRILLED), I had it:
And aside from the solution to my long-standing plotting problem, my Eureka moment has helped drive home to me the reality that, while inspiration might well be just "one percent" of the creative process, it's a pretty damned important, well-nigh irreplaceable, one percent of that process.
Because without it, we're all just really hard workers.
So how about the rest of you? Got a particular Eureka moment you'd like to share?