Creativity and Chaos: How to Find Inspiration Anywhere

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Would you like to be able to find inspiration anywhere?

A year and a half ago my life was in the midst of mayhem. The company I was working for went bankrupt and I was let go. I had just come out of another failed relationship. I had just come to terms with a failed attempt at entering a graduate school, and I was also given the great responsibility of taking care for a loved one with an illness. Yes, my life certainly felt stuck in incredible mayhem.

But mysteriously, in the midst of all this mayhem, all I felt called to do was to write a novel.

This was a very mysterious urge for me because I had been studying acting at a university for 4 years, I had earned my bachelor’s degree in Drama, and had been acting in plays for most of my life. For all intents and purposes, my life was on an actor’s trajectory and everyone, including me, was resolutely convinced that I was going to become a professional actor one day.

But even though I had spent so much time investing in an acting career, in the midst of all the recent mayhem in my life, I was surprised to find that I had no desire to be an actor anymore, and that my true passion was for writing. I had never written a novel before, and so starting it would mean having to embrace the mystery of this urge, and let the future unfold as it would.

My sister had encouraged me to write a blog about the experience, hoping it would motivate me. There was no expectation for the blog to be any bigger than just a personal online journal.

But a year and a half has passed and the blog has gone from obscurity to Top Ten Blogger status in less than a year; thousands of people from around the world visit the blog now and hundreds are subscribed. Today, I’ve completely ditched acting and have become a freelancer writer in order to earn a living as I write fiction. I’ve even had clients take the writing consultation service I offer to my readers through my blog—effectively turning my blog into a business within year.

Meanwhile, I am working on finishing my life’s work, my novel, which is currently on its a second draft.

All of this was accomplished without much intention, but simply by following the mystery underneath all the mayhem, until it led me to the magic.

The Art of Mystery

There is a wonderful book by the late psychologist Dr. Gerald D. May. Dr. May found that in the writings of two Catholic saints, there was a profound wisdom that I believe stretches farther than the confines of any religion.

Dr. May explained that these two saints spoke about the mayhem of life, but they referred to it as “the dark night of the soul.”

Dr. May explained that “the dark night of the soul” is a moment of incredible turmoil in our lives where many of our previously held conceptions and beliefs are called into question; and in which we are forced to detach from feelings, thoughts, or objects that beforehand had given us great peace and comfort. This intense process opens us up to a moment of great mayhem in our lives that may appear very dark to us.

For Dr. May, the reason that this time is “dark” is not because it is evil, but because it is “obscure.” It’s hard to see what is actually going on. Because in actuality, although we cannot see it at the time, beneath all the mayhem, there is actually something wonderful secretly blooming inside of us. It’s as if this dark period is a womb in the midst of our lifetime; and this womb is providing the right amount of nourishment and care for you to one day be reborn as a newer, more liberated you.

Dr. May also said that the “mysteriousness” of this mayhem has a very practical purpose: because if we knew what was going to unfold in our lives before it actually happened, we might end up sabotaging our own success.

The Art of Magic

After I read Dr. May’s book, I wondered if I would I have sabotaged my current success if I knew where I was truly going to end up.

After a moment of thought, I concluded that yes, I would have sabotaged myself.

You see, today I have a great responsibility to my blog readership. They can certainly live fine without me, but from what they have told me, it gives them great joy and pleasure to have me around in a online world that is sometimes so filled with hateful, negative, and sensationalist language.

However, if I had known I was going to be given such a great responsibility a year and a half ago, I certainly would have not started my blog and would have probably ditched my novel.


Because my intention at the time had been to keep myself loyal to my novel, and any plan to “help” or “inspire” others would have been interpreted by me as a purely egotistical. I also would have likely given up writing the first draft of my novel knowing that, soon, hundreds of strangers’ eyes would be scrutinizing my progress.

So in order to keep me from sabotaging my future success, the process of life wisely kept me in the dark for a period of time.

Fortunately, today, I recognize that part of my purpose in life is to provide inspiration, hope, and encouragement to the struggling writers of the world. Today I continue writing my novel because I’ve already invested far too much time into it to give up now, even if I feel the pressure of the whole world watching.

It turns out there was a method to the mayhem after all.

Preparing For Your Opening Night

I recall that back in my acting days, it was well-known theater wisdom that when a production gets close to opening night you can almost be certain that several things will go terribly wrong: essential actors will drop out, sets will fall apart, props will go missing, the director will come down with the flu, etc.. But as soon as the curtains part on opening night, the mayhem subsides, everything falls into place, and the play goes on with little or no difficulty, as if by some mysterious magic.

I wouldn’t believe this mysterious phenomenon myself if I hadn’t witnessed it every single time I had acted in a play.

Find Creativity In Chaos

It is good to remember that when it gets closer to the opening night of your life, everything can and will go wrong. The mayhem will be everywhere. But if you carry conviction during the dark times, and trust that the mystery will lead you to a better, more liberated space, then as soon as that curtain opens, the mayhem will subside, everything will fall into place, and you may be surprised to find that the show goes on without a hitch.

Just like magic.

About the author

Ollin Morales

Ollin Morales's blog, Courage 2 Create, chronicles the author’s journey as he writes his very first novel. His blog offers writing tips as well as strategies to deal with life’s toughest challenges. After all, as Ollin’s story unfolds, it becomes more and more clear to him that in order to write a great novel, he must first learn how to live a great life.