I recently read an article about waiting for the muse to inspire a writer before they sat down to write. The jest of it was that one shouldn’t force the writing.
While this might work for some writers, I fear it doesn’t work for most writers. Writing only when inspiration hits creates a few problems.
Inspiration hits at inconvenient times: while driving from Nova Scotia to Fredericton at 3 o’clock in the morning; eating watermelon on a horse; paddling in the middle of the harbour; sitting at a writers’ meeting; waiting in the pouring rain because someone is late…you get the picture.
In many instances, you can’t even scribble a sentence on a napkin let alone write out a complete paragraph or half a short story.
For some, inspiration is evasive. I know writers who say they’ll write when they are inspired, and months go by and no words are written. Unlike me, they don’t get inspired by simple things such as news headlines, seeing a unique character cross their path, reading someone else’s story or watching grass grow.
The problem with waiting for inspiration to line up with a convenient time to write is they seldom collide. This would translate into few words written in a lifetime. You might get a book or two written in fifty years, unless you are a rare individual where time often aligns with inspiration.
For the rest of us, if we want to write professionally, we must plant ourselves in the chair and sow the seeds of inspiration when we get the time and not wait for inspiration to sprout like weeds in the vegetable garden.
We must force ourselves or nothing would get done.
But here’s the truth: the more you write, the more you want to write. In other words, the more you force yourself to write, the more inspired you will become at all times of the day and night. That’s what happened me, and now I can’t stop writing.
Ideally, a specific time can be chosen to write. But if you can’t find a specific time, do what I do: write at every opportunity whether you feel like it or not. Force yourself to write because here are the rules:
- Writing something is better than writing nothing.
- A blank page cannot be edited.
There’s a saying that goes something like this: You could wait for your ship to come in, or you could swim out to it.
It’s up to you. Do you want to sit on the shore and possibly watch opportunity float by while you wait for inspiration, or will you grab that keyboard, dive in and swim out to it?
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