It comes in fits and starts, often unexpectedly, but it never fails to take your breath away. I’m talking about that moment of truly divine inspiration that snags your attention and screams “DO THIS!” and won’t let go.

Now I’m not pretentious enough to say I’m a genius, although I have had my moments. What I’m saying is that every one of us has had those intuitive jabs in the ribs that propels us to greater success than we could imagine.

The trick is to recognize those moments when they flit through our consciousness, and discern them from random, disconnected, less-inspired ideas. It’s a trick I haven’t quite mastered yet, but I’m working on it.

A few weeks ago I had an idea for a children’s picture book go traipsing through my head, and I immediately dismissed it. For one, I don’t DO children’s picture books, and for two, I have plenty of writing projects on my plate (and covering the entire table) to tackle (and finish) before I take on anything else.

But a few days later, the idea returned, and hovered just inside my awareness until I stopped what I was doing and sat with it. Literally. I was writing a blog entry at the time, and here it came, niggling at my peripheral thoughts. So I stopped, took my hands off the keyboard, put them in my lap, and waited.

That’s all the idea needed to formulate into a tangible project. In that moment of stillness, I envisioned not one, but a series of at least four children’s picture books with sustained characters. Characters who began having names and relationships and plotlines.

I laughed aloud. “Okay! You win!” I said to my new imaginary friends, and opened a blank word-processing document to begin telling their stories.

Will this series ever be published? Will these books make me fame and fortune? I have no idea. I enjoy the process of mining those moments of inspiration, and I’m blessed to recognize them when they tap me on the shoulder. I’m pushing my creative limits and I’m having fun. And isn’t that really what life is supposed to be about?

It sure works for me.