I’m going to foray into some new territory with this post. By that, I mean I’m going to actually write about something other than a publication credit and giving a bargain plea for you to go buy whatever is I’ve sold to someone else. With that said, this first blog post is going to be about something that drives me insane as a writer, which is inspiration.
Oh, and don’t think this doesn’t mean I won’t bug you to buy the stuff I get published anymore because I certainly will.
Where was I? That’s right. Inspiration.
I’ve heard many a writer say, “I can’t write unless I’m inspired.” or “I wrote the whole thing while inspired.”
I call bullshit.
Inspiration may drive the beginning of an idea, a particular passage, or chapter, but it will never write the whole story for you. Inspiration doesn’t write your stories, you do.
And before you get all choppy with me, I admit to being inspired every day to write. Even after ten years of writing, submitting, getting accepted and rejected, I get all tingly when I think of sitting down at the laptop to write. I want to write! I’ve got this idea or that idea, or I’m halfway through edits here or there… there are a million things because it never ends. We’re always creating, always writing something in our heads.
Those neighbors arguing across the way? Yeah, I’m supplying the dialogue even though I can’t hear it. The old lady on her hands and knees gardening? Damn straight I know what’s going through her head and how much she loves those droopy flowers of hers.
So I get it. And that is inspiration. Seeing people doing things, getting that idea out of nowhere because a branch blows across the road in a specific way, but that’s not what writes the story, edits it, then lets a beta reader have it, then edits it again, and maybe again after that. Joe Hill tweeted recently that he usually does five drafts.
So, no, it’s not inspiration that writes; you write and your passion is what gets it done.
If you’re like most writers, you have other constraints on your time. I have a wife, three children, and a full-time job that I’m not very fond of. At the end of the work day, it’s usually dinner, homework, and family time of some sort until the kids go to bed. At that point, I’m pretty damn tired, am in need of a shower, and have many personal avenues to pursue and writing is only one of them. I enjoy watching a few television shows (most of which are either on my DVR or Netflix, that’s how old they are), playing video games, getting laid, reading, and hell, I usually have homework of my own since I’m in college.
Writing usually wins for me. Honestly, the only one with a higher priority is getting laid. That means my own writing outweighs my homework in most circumstances and it’s the reason why I’m just now watching the (not really) new Battlestar Galactica from 2004.
But that’s my passion for writing, not my inspiration. My passion puts my ass in this chair and these hands on this keyboard time and time again. My passion for writing pushes most other endeavors out of the way. It’s that strong.
So yes, I call bullshit on anyone who says they can’t write unless inspired. If that’s your stance, then you’re not a writer. Not really. Writing is work, and any work worth doing needs passion.
Find yours and put it in the driver’s seat.
(As an aside, I usually close comments on “News” posts, but since this is something different, I’m leaving them open. Feel free to add your thoughts.)