Monday, 17 October 2011

Totally Lacking Inspiration

Which is my current state regarding this blog.  When I do talks and people ask 'how do you manage to blog every day?' I always say, 'I don't know; I'm waiting for inspiration to dry up, but it hasn't so far.'  Well, today it has.  

So instead of coming up with some cunning technique about writing craft, or a bit of cheer-leading for the writing process, here I am, tapping away and wondering where on earth I can go next.  I often write like this, particularly when I'm starting a novel.  Off I trot into the blue, fingers moving while my brain is chattering: this is a daft way of making a living.  

And what happens is that, although inspiration may be lacking, somehow the words turn up.  Pages are filled.  Characters do things.  They start interacting.  They begin to be interesting.  Gradually the story draws me in and before I know it, I've written a few thousand words.  And then the next day I do it all over again.

There is a magic in just writing.  You trust that somehow it WILL happen, and off you go.  I see it often in my writing class.  People who have braved my wrath to tell me that they haven't written anything at all that week are told to write.  They bite their pens then, hesitating, start to write.  Then their heads go down and the pens scratch away, and suddenly I'm saying 'ten minutes are up,' and still they write on.  I quite often have to get firm and stop the class, and reluctantly they put down their pens.  

So next time you're not feeling like writing, next time you haven't got any inspiration, next time your pen/keyboard feels as if it's stuck in mud, just get going.  You may find that, through the magic of writing, you've ended up by writing something.  Something, perhaps, like this blog post....

10 comments:

Tenerus said...

Inspirational piece and glad to see you writing it rather than succumbing to that base addiction and friend of procrastinators everywhere - Twitter. I've managed to kick that habit so far today (but only by displacing it into commenting on blogs instead)...

Jim Murdoch said...

You would think after all the years I've been doing this I would have some insight into how this writing thingumajig works but nope. I have no idea where the words come from. I notice this especially these days when I'm writing blogs. I know what I have to write about and then suddenly I have 1000 words written and I think, Where on earth did all that come from? I don't question it. It's the old adage: if it ain't broke...

Anita Chapman said...

This is so true. Writing classes are great for forcing you into writing something for ten minutes. Then you don't want to stop, feel inspired and most importantly feel confident enough to write again. Comment from Tenerus made me laugh. Spent the morning flicking between Twitter and the scene I'm working on, scene moving forwards at snail's pace and now commenting on blogs...

freeyourparenting.com said...

This is absolutely how I write all the time. Incidentally, with regard to blog posts, I have a sheet of paper on my office wall and jot down ideas whenever they come to me, so I have a long list to pick from when I get stuck - for my parenting blog, that is.

Fiona Faith Maddock said...

Thank you for this. I'm glad it's not just me...

womagwriter said...

It's amazing how you can always come up with something worth writing when you have to - my writing tutor uses a kitchen timer set for 6 minutes when we do a writing exercise. And we all manage to get something on paper which is often the starting point for something longer...

Diane Fordham said...

Top post Sarah. I love the way you made your point, very clever. I absolutely agree with what you said - trust in your self and just do it! x

Penny said...

How true! I find doodles help too, if viewed as 'pencil applied to paper' and not as 'putting off the writing.' As ever, it's all in the mind-set.

Eryl said...

Gads, you're good!

Sarah Duncan said...

Gee, guys, thanks!

I'm trying really hard to make myself write rather than Twitter, even when I've only got 20 minutes to spare. And the magic always happens. It always does.