Taming Inspiration

- by ria, on Wednesday, 8th December 2010, 6:36pm

I was reading an article about creating articles recently, where the writer said he can only write when he’s inspired. He gets an idea and if he doesn’t go with it straight away it fizzles and he stops working on it. He said he’s so driven by this wave of inspiration that if he stops in the middle, he can’t continue when he gets back to it because the inspiration is gone.

I completely understand where he is coming from, but I don’t agree with him. I used to be like him, waiting for inspiration and once it hit, sitting down for a 7 /8 / 12 hour stretch to try to get the whole story (or drawing, it used happen a lot with drawings) done before I had to stop working on it for the night. Usually if I didn’t get the piece finished by then, it never got finished. I get the impression a lot of young writers work this way.

The bad news: it doesn’t work. If you want to write a novel, you have to be able to take the inspiration and tame it so that you can use it whenever you need it. You must be able to draw that creative / excited energy out for the entire length of writing the novel, which could be a year or more. Any published author will tell you that writing a novel takes persistence and a strict schedule more than inspiration. That flash of brilliance is just enough to get you started, it’s up to you to take up the idea and carry it through to completion.

‘But how do I do that?’ you ask. Self-discipline, a good writing schedule and deep understanding of your story and characters helps. Really, you are the only one who can answer the question. I guess you need to ask yourself how much your story means to you, how strong is your desire to finish it. For me, I want to be a writer. I’ve wanted it for a long, long time. That need to be published is what keeps me going; you have to figure out what drives you, and use that to push yourself along when the inspiration wears off.

tags: , , ,
category: thoughts, writing

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