There’s a saying in the photographic world that, for landscape photography in particular, the best light of the day occurs during the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset.
That doesn’t mean to say that you can’t take great photos at any other time of the day - you can - but during these golden hour periods the lighting has the ability to give our images a special quality.
Something similar could be said for writing too. Although it is possible to pick up a pen and write at any time of the day, I find there is a time of day when the words flow more easily, and the creativity behind the idea sparkles with a special iridescence. I’m a firm believer that our brain can be ‘trained’ into working at the same time each day. Make sitting down and writing at the same time every day a habit and, over time, the words will flow more easily. But the golden hour I’m referring to isn’t that time when our brain has been trained to write. Instead, it’s that time when it wants to write.
There are some writers who only write when the muse strikes. For me, the muse is that golden hour. I’ve trained my brain into writing during the day, when I have to write, in order to meet deadlines and generate an income. But I enjoy those golden moments when the muse strikes and everything just flows.
The golden hours don’t happen every day - for writers, or for photographers. Indeed, there have been times when I planned to go out with my camera, but the weather forecast changed and it began peeing it down with rain and continued to do so well into the night. However, there are days when I can look to the skies, and know that everything (including stuff I don’t understand) is coming together nicely and it’ll be worth going out with my camera.
The same thing happens with the muse. I don’t look to the skies, but there’s a feeling, a sense, that things are coming together nicely, and I should make the effort to sit down quietly with pen and paper in hand. The golden muse is on its way.
The next time the muse hits you try to explore the moment. What does it feel like? What mood are you in? What sort of atmosphere are you surrounded by? What qualities have combined to create this moment? The more you understand of these moments the more you can exploit them in the future.
There’s the potential for the photographic golden hour to happen twice a day, every day, but the weather doesn’t always play ball. However, photographically, I don’t wait for the muse to strike, I get out there and make the best of what I can. The same can be said for our writing. Don’t wait for the muse to strike in order to do any writing, but learn what conditions you need for it to strike, and then maximise its potential whenever it happens.