What does inspiration feel like?

What does inspiration feel like? Before the flow of words/ideas, before it all clicks together and makes sense. How does it first present?

To me, a story inspiration tickles like a sneeze. It feels like the footsteps of a teeny tiny bug going tap tap tap at the edge of my thoughts. It slips in on the edge of a word or a phrase. I need to soften my mind and wait for it to dance its way into my attention.

A new idea feels like taking a step forward and the ground moves oddly. Not in a scary way, like in those dreams where you slip and fall. It feels like a gentle tilt, an unusual angle, a shift in my mind’s balance. I reverse and take the step again and again, trying to untangle what felt quirky or off or intriguing.

A new idea is a thought that wobbles. Like when you were a child and that tooth was loose. Whenever you sucked or poked at it, you felt it grind and shift and tilt. You can’t stop poking and sucking, endlessly exploring the wobble.

A new story idea feels like those heavy hours before dawn. The solid bar of Eastern darkness. It feels like the restless energy in the sky and the city and the birds and ground. It feels like the shift of night animals, the sharpening attention of the birds. Like something pressing just beneath a horizon, some hint of vastness.

The first breath of a new story feels like trying to plait the wind. It slips through my fingers, the hint of a presence.

What does creative inspiration feel like to you?

First published on my website 24 June 2021