For any aspiring author searching for help, there seems to be one piece of advice that is repeated to us over and over again. Write, even when you’re not inspired. I’ve been hearing that same line for as long as I can remember and every time I’ve heard it spoken (or read it on the internet), I always find myself asking the same counter-question: if I’m not inspired, how can I write anything worth reading? It’s taken me a long while to figure this one out, and I might even be interpreting it wrong, but I can really only understand the world as seen through my own filter.
Inspiration is a funny thing that, for this writer at least, possesses many layers to sort through. What inspired me to write in the first place? What inspires me on any given day when I sit down at my computer and start throwing words at the screen? What inspires characters and what inspires plot? I can go on, but I think you catch my drift.
So let’s focus, today, on one aspect of inspiration; specifically, finding the inspiration for day-to-day writing. I mean, I could go on about what inspired me to write, but chances are, if you too fancy yourself a writer, you’ve probably got that part of the equation down. Let’s not beat a dead horse (unless of course it is undead, in which case, beat away).
As I said at the start of this piece, I’ve always had trouble with writing while not inspired. It has always been difficult, and I imagine it always will be, to craft something creative when creativity seems light years away. In the past I would sit staring at that damn flashing cursor, racking my brain for…something. Anything. I would wait for inspiration to slip in through the window and start whispering in my ear. Needless to say episodes like that would end with me frustrated, angrily closing my word-processing program, disgusted with my lack of creativity. I realize now that I may have been a little hard on myself. Sorry Past-Marsh.
What I have found that seems to work for me is embracing the ‘work’ side of writing. Alright, not embracing, but begrudgingly accepting it. See, as is typical for me, only after doing it wrong, learning how ‘not to write’, can I start to see the bigger picture. Writing is a craft, and no craftsman out there becomes skilled by simply wanting to be ‘good’. Sure, you need the desire, you need the inspiration to take that first step, but you and I need to remember that it is only one step along a path with too many steps to count.
Nothing seemed to turn out for me until I was finally was able to liken some aspects of writing to working. There are days when I go to my day job and feel like a million bucks; I can engage every customer I come across with a big smile and a genuine desire to help them out. However, there are, if you don’t mind my being overly dramatic, dark days too. Days where just the thought of showing up to work makes me groan like a kid that desperately wants to stay home from school and play video games. On those days the words of my mother echo through my head: ‘Pull your socks up and get going.’ So I get to work, unhappy, but determined to make the best of it and sometimes that forced smile becomes genuine; others times, not so much.
Now when I sit down to write and stare at that cursor, taunting me with its incessant blinking, I don’t let the frustration kill my drive. I let those words of my mother echo again inside my skull, telling me to pull up my socks, reminding me that even doing the thing that I love means not always loving it. I hit the keyboard running and if the narrative won’t come out, I turn to my notes, my character sketches, my maps (can’t write fantasy without drawing a few maps, right?), whatever else can help bring this novel to life.
I’ve heard it said that writing is a labour of love, in that we can compare it a relationship. You have ups and downs with your partner in life; times when you have to work at it, learn from it and just accept that not every day will be like a romantic comedy where everything works out in the end. Sometimes you have to push past misunderstandings, fight to find common ground, compromise and always keep the goal of happiness in sight.
Writing is like that; you push past the lack of inspiration, fight to find that creative nugget hidden in the back of your mind and always, always, keep the goal of success in sight. If not, you’re just playing with yourself.
Pro Author via Morguefile
Guest Author Bio
Marshall is an aspiring novelist and writer, who stops by to offer his thoughts, opinions and musings, hoping to share and even gain a little bit of perspective. He is married (to a wonderful woman), lives in South Central Ontario and may or may not have a small addiction to video games.
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