Inspiration; it’s such a grand concept. I always envision somebody typing feverishly in a picturesque setting whenever I think of inspiration. Ideal scenarios always jump to mind, but let’s be honest, when do ideal scenarios ever actually present themselves in real life? Sure, maybe if we all lived in a Hallmark movie, but I’m pretty sure we don’t. A quick glance at the nightly news confirms this. Which leaves the reality of inspiration. Instead of having an immaculate work station in front of a giant picture window overlooking an isolated lake, I’m left with frantic scribbling on a piece of scrap paper while I’m trying to clear the table after dinner. There are countless memes about inspiration striking right before you drift off to sleep, only to wake up the next morning with no recollection with the brilliant idea you had mere hours before. Or in the shower, when you don’t have access to your phone, computer, or notepad. It never hits at an opportune time, so as a writer, you just have to make it work whenever the muse finds you.
Personally, if I’m unable to make a note in that instant (whether it be due to being in the shower, or driving, or what have you), I will continue to cycle the idea through my head, possibly expanding on it depending on the idea, until I’m able to jot it down. That keeps it from being forgotten, and even gives me a little extra time to develop it a little more. Then I get it noted the second I’m able to before it leaves me forever. It never fails, my ideas and creativity kick into overdrive every Sunday morning in church. Talk about awkward, try pulling your phone out of your pocket in the middle of a sermon and jotting down a note that just smacked you in the face. What makes it even more uncomfortable is that my subject matter tends to be about outlaw bikers, illegal substances, and illicit activities – not really topics I would call wholesome.
Writers also have to write even when there is no inspiration. That is an ugly truth that beginner writers may not be aware of, or struggle to accept. If you’re always waiting for inspiration, then there’s a lot of time where you’re not actually writing. Sometimes working through those times forces inspiration. For example, the end of Crossroads is a prime scenario. I wrote that book by the seat of my pants. I barely had a rough idea of what the book would be about, and certainly didn’t have anything in mind beyond that. So as I was typing it, I often didn’t know where the story would go next. I even found myself completely stuck at one point, and inspiration basically became a foreign concept. Eventually, I tried taking a different approach to my typical writing practices, and worked my way through the writer’s block. By the time I got to the end of the book, I wasn’t sure how everything was going to fall into place. I had written a decently entertaining story so far, but I didn’t have a clue how I was going to wrap it all up. So I just kept writing. I let the story go where it needed to, and miraculously, as I approached the end of the book, inspiration struck and everything just clicked. Then it was a mad dash to the finish line trying to keep my fingers up with my thoughts.
Essentially, the point is this. As a writer, take advantage anytime inspiration strikes. Even if it’s inconvenient. Always have something handy to take notes when ideas jump in your brain. And when there’s no inspiration? Yeah, write then too. If I was still waiting on inspiration to hit, I probably still wouldn’t have published my first book. Let alone the ones that came after. So my message is always going to be the same. Just write.
Thank you, that is all.