Writing

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Inspiration

Yesterday I had it. Today it has gone.

Yesterday there was steam coming from my fingertips.

Today I’d rather walk naked down Chichester high street than type a single word.

This is the mysterious (and infuriating) case of the disappearing inspiration…

Marianne Cantwell says the reason so many of us fail at our creative endeavours is because we rely too much on inspiration.

I am guilty as charged.

Some days I can write, and some days (a lot of days), I can’t.

Why?

“I’m not feeling like it.”

Pondering this, I realise I’ve done a really dumb thing. I’ve made up two rules about inspiration, and then stuck to them as if my life depended on it.

RULE 1:

I CAN ONLY WRITE IF I AM FEELING INSPIRED.

RULE 2:

WHENEVER I WRITE, I SHOULD EXPERIENCE PERPETUAL BLISS!

Both of the above are patently ridiculous. If they were true, most of the books today would never have been written.

Very few writers sit down at their desks and effortlessly ‘channel’ a book in one sitting (regardless of how often I tell myself this is how it should happen).

Most writers have to go through ‘bleugh’ days. And worse:

“Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”
Gene Fowler

“Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time… the wait is simply too long.”
Leonard Bernstein, composer

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
Jack London

“If I am not at all in a humour for writing; I must write on until I am.”
Jane Austen

“I only write when I’m inspired, and I make sure I’m inspired every morning at 9 a.m.”
Peter DeVries

Slowly I am learning a horrible truth.

Writing a book involves sitting my bum on the chair, regardless of how inspired I’m feeling.

And doing this involves something equally heinous: being comfortable with feeling UNCOMFORTABLE.

Yuk.

This is the topic of my next post. Cos it’s a biggie. (And I really don’t like it.)

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2 thoughts on “The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Inspiration

  1. I have found that keeping a little book with the time I start writing and the time I stop writing really helps…makes it real:-) It means I go to my writing world more often and I can see that I have been there. Slowly it becomes a tasty habit…

    Like

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