Inspiration is great. FABULOUS, even. You gotta love those times when that word-bowel movement starts long before you get to your keyboard. You’re driving, at work, or preoccupied in some other way, and something sparks it. You are going to explode if you don’t get to that gosh dern keyboard, like NOW. You are bursting at the seams when you finally sit down to let it out, and when you do, it pours and pours and pours, like Niagra dumping holy water on those keys, and two hours later you’ve written two freaking amazing chapters or something and it’s still coming. Isn’t it great how every day in the life of the average writer blesses us with this gift of super-human inspiration?
*shields face from the pie you are aiming at me*
Yeah. Not so much, eh?
Here’s the thing about inspiration: it comes and goes. We are not always going to be super-humanly inspired to write. It won’t always come out instantaneously brilliant and flavorful, like holy-water-doused McDonald’s french fries.
Some days, we don’t feel like writing at all.
And some days, we may feel like writing, but we’re blocked.
*stares at blank page for an hour*
*writes a sentence, erases it*
*stares at blank page for another hour*
It’s on those days we may begin to question our own sanity. We may ask ourselves what in the hell we are doing this writing thing for. We may curse, cry, drink heavily, or get lost in The Walking Dead binges on Netflix . . . .*coughs*
But that’s part of being a writer. I’ve probably quoted this ten times on this blog already, but I’m gonna do it again because it’s so important to remember.
“Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.” ~Chuck Close (painter)
Sure, he isn’t a writer, but I think with any creative profession/hobby it’s the same concept. We can’t always sit around and wait for inspiration. We just have to show up every day, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel, and get to work. No, it won’t always come out the way we want it to when we “force” it during those times lacking in inspiration. We may have more editing to do during those sections. But aren’t we going to revise anyway?
The truth is, unless we are J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, we can’t be superstars every day. Some days will be less than glam. But those uninspired days are important for bridging the other, brilliant days. Those days keep the pump primed for when the inspiration begins to flow. Let me take it a step further and say that those days actually enable the inspiration to flow more easily to us when the time comes.
If you don’t write every day, do it. Make a commitment to yourself and your craft. Get a writing calendar and “don’t break the chain;” write everyday and put a big red X on the day after you’ve written for at least ten minutes. This will get you in the habit of writing even when you aren’t especially inspired. Some days you’ll even discover that you sit down to write, lacking inspiration, and as you begin to write anyway, something sparks it and suddenly you’re inspired and it’s flowing like Old Faithful once again. It’s hard to tell when those times are upon us, so our best bet in catching them is to be prepared to write every day, no matter what.
Here’s another quote I found today. It happens to be by another very well-known painter. I think these guys are on to something 😀
Until next time, wordy nerdys,