Inspiration Is Like Manna

Despite writing daily for over a year now (minus one missed day), I still hardly ever plan out posts more than a few days in advance. More often than not, I find my daily writing idea late at night when I lay down in bed to type out a post.

You’d think I’d be a better planner at this point. But while I’m a big believer in making your own inspiration (instead of waiting for it), there’s still an element of randomness to my writing ideas that seem to be out of my control. At least, I only find myself wanting to write about things that seem to “come from” somewhere else. They have to hit me hard, and they have to be compelling or different enough for me to want to get them out of my head and onto (digital) paper.

Any ideas that I can plan out a few days in advance often lack that quality.

All of this reminds me of the ancient Hebrew story (in Exodus chapter 16) of “manna,” the bread they say God rained down from heaven each morning to the Hebrews as they wandered through the desert under Moses’ leadership. Each day there was plenty to be found, fresh on the ground like dew. It wasn’t half-bad, either, if the stories are to be believed.

So naturally, people tried to hoard it, contrary to Moses’ (and – we can assume – God’s) instructions

Bad idea. Collect more manna than you needed for that one day, and it “bred worms and became foul.” As for the uncollected manna, “when the sun grew hot, it melted.” There was a quality to this magical bread that was only meant to be a daily gift, not a resource to be sat upon. Some might say this was a spiritual lesson for the Hebrews as they left Egypt.

I’ve found creative inspiration to be much the same. It responds to effort and discipline, yes, but only so much. There will always be a bit of randomness, like manna. And like manna, it will always resist over-planning and over-hoarding. I have to have faith that it will be on the ground every day when I look. It usually is.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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