Flash of Illumination

Rarely do I set aside any time to devote to the completion of my musical.  I haven’t exactly burned out on the idea of finishing it –it merely has gradually woven its way so far down the scale of my life-priorities, it’s almost the last thing I ever think of doing.  At the same time, I have no doubt that the script will one day be complete.  Most likely, this will happen when I receive the flash of “illumination” that is regarded as the third of four stages in the creative process, as posited by the great thinker Graham Wallas.


Graham Wallas

Because this fascinating theory has been born out in my own creative experience, I am convinced that the moment of illumination I’ve been waiting for is in my future.  Then, and only then, will I finish the script.  I would never be able to finish the script by adopting what many would call the more “professional” approach.

The “professional” would have the attitude that his project needs to be completed by a deadline.  If this deadline is not imposed upon him by paycheck from employer, it will be imposed upon him by his own most professional soul.   An Artist who is one by profession knows that whether or not he is working for hire on a particular piece, there will come a day when his sensibilities differ far enough from those needed for him to focus on that endeavor, he will invariably shift his focus onto the more palatable present-day interests on his plate.  This he will do, even if it means losing his remaining grip on the more dated project, and rendering it obsolete in the process. 

If working for hire, he would be far past the usual deadline before that happens, and would most likely have lost the gig by now.  If not working for hire, he is his own employer, and he determines for himself if his interest in any given project can be sustained.  If it’s coming down to the crunch, and he senses that he can no longer healthfully sustain his own interest in his own piece, he will force his way to the end of the project.  This he will do, even if in its “finished” state it is far below his own understandably high standards of artistic quality.  He does all this because, as a “professional,” he deems it a worse sin to leave a job undone, than for it to be done at less than 99% his optimum, very best performance level.

Now, I am not saying that there’s anything wrong with being a professional playwright, musical theatre composer, or screen writer.  Far from it.  If, for example, somebody were to offer me, say, $5000, if I were to complete the script by, say, September 1st, 2016, I would have to turn to that person, and simply say:

“Thank you for your most kind offer, sir.  I believe I have just received the flash of illumination that I have needed.”

This is what the “professional” would do.

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