Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Waiting for Inspiration

Someone once said that if you're waiting for inspiration to write, you're not a writer; you're a waiter.  I've been a waiter for the last 6 months and I'm done waiting.  I've told myself it's "writers block"; yet I manage to pick up my laptop and add a paragraph or two every week or so to my ongoing story, so it's not that I'm blocked per se, but more like I'm lazy.  I use to write every single day...no matter what.  I'd write anything and everything that came through my head until something would just work.  I practiced the lessons I had learned from the great writers that have gone before.  You write every day, whether you feel like it or not.  Inspiration isn't a requirement for writing.  Picking up your pen or laptop and placing your fingers on the keys is.  You may go through days or weeks where the words that you're putting on paper are just blah and ho hum, but eventually a spark would come and you'd be busy for hours with really good stuff.  For me, I just got discouraged with the blah and the ho-hum of it all and decided to just stop.  I thought if I stopped, the inspiration would come another way.  Well, that hasn't worked.  Oh sure, I still have my laptop right by my bed, and notebook and pen on me at all times, waiting for those "moments".  Which never darken my brain any longer.  Talk about upsetting?  Until someone told me to go back through all of my writings over the last 10 years, and read them.  Read them as if I was someone who had never heard of myself, and was looking at the words for the very first time.  Surprisingly enough, I found myself enjoying what I was reading.  It held my attention and made me laugh.  I got goose bumps and choked up with tears.  I actually felt emotions from these words.  And that...inspired me.  I actually liked what I was reading.  So...I'm not going to be a "waiter" any longer.  I'm going to write because I love to write and because I have something to say.  Good writing is supposed to evoke a feeling, not just a fact.  The fact may be that it's raining, but I want you to feel the need to reach for your umbrella because a storms coming.  It's the "show me, don't tell me" philosophy.  I learned that in writing 101.  It's easier said than done.

In my mind, I keep thinking that with all of the stories that have been told, either by authors of books or screenwriters for film or tv...society has been overwhelmed by different ways to tell a love story or a science fiction story, a mystery or adventure.  How can I possibly come up with something unique and interesting enough to warrant someone to pay money to watch or read?  How can I be sure that what I'm writing about hasn't already been told before?  I've read so many books and watched hundreds of films, classics and modern...how can I be sure I'm actually writing something that is all mine?  Is adding just a twist of something different enough to  make someone want to publish it?  I worry too much about that.  It causes me to stall in my own writing.  How do I overcome that?  I've heard other great writers say that to be a good writer, they read all the time.  They constantly have several books at one time that they are reading.  They say, this helps with inspiration.  I have favorite books that inspired me enough to cause me to read them over and over again.  Each time, still being moved by what I'm reading as if I was reading it for the first time.  For me, that's a great author/storyteller.  I dream of being that kind of writer.  Not just the kind where my story is read once, and placed on a bookshelf never to be read or opened again.  

So, for now, I am writing everyday, whether it's inspired, great, so-so or really awful.  I am a writer, so I must write.  One day, my story I've been working on for a year, will be done.  I will send it off to be looked at by an editor and they will decide if its good enough or not.  That's the hardest part...putting yourself out their for criticism.  It's just part of the process, and their's no other way around it.  I try to look at it as a way to learn and get better.  All of those red marks and cross outs still hurt.  But I can only keep writing.  That's what I love doing, and nothing is going to stop that.  So, inspiration??  When you do decide to show up, I'll be here with my pen and paper in hand; my laptop on and my fingers working away diligently.  I'll be ready.  I'm committed.  It's like the soldiers that stay in shape everyday.  They work out, they clean their weapons, they stayed educated in warfare battles and prepare themselves for that day.  Whenever it comes.  They won't be caught unawares.  War may never come knocking at their door, but if it does, they are ready.  A writer is that way.  We keep writing and reading and learning and practicing our skill...and one day, inspiration will come and a story will be born.  When it comes knocking at my door, I'll be ready.

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