Q of the Week : How do you capture creative time?

One of the rare times when inspiration and time coincided … a bag I threw together for my SIL’s birthday. I’m stymied.  I’m a reasonably creative person, when I’m rested at least, and when pressed can usually come up with something.  However, when the ‘mood strikes’ and I’ve got something I’m dying to write or make, it’s only once in a year that the time is actually there in front of me, for the using.  By the time I HAVE time, the magic moment is gone and it’s drudgery again.  I can often drag  it out of my memory somewhere, or laboriously construct it from notes I’ve scribbled, but it’s simply not the same.  How do you deal with this??

I’m big on creating environments that are conducive to work.  I have to have the right pen and paper or I can’t compose an article.  Ever read Anne of Green Gables, and remember her obsession with having the perfect non-scratchy pen before writing Gilbert a love letter?  That’s me all over.  I also need a clean(ish) desk before I can tackle a new web design project.  I hold out for a large worksurface that doesn’t have to be cleared for every meal before I tackle a slew of big wedding projects.  I try to have all these things ready, so that when the muse strikes I can take advantage of it, but it hardly ever happens.  Then I get discouraged, pent up creatively, and am disappointed with the things I end up producing laboriously but without inspiration.  (ie this month’s header, which I don’t like but ran out of time to get ‘right’.)

How do you fit creative stuff in?  Do you ever connect with your muse and actually get to produce it when the idea comes, or is it always deferred (and I’m just wishing for the impossible)?  I’m at a loss, and would love any input and ideas y’all might have to share!