Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Call this post an experiment, an experiment in uninspired writing.
I am in a horrible mood. There's no point is saying why, but let it suffice that I am. It is while in this mood that I decided to write about inspiration, and to do it without having a single thought in my head about.
Usually, when I write about a topic, I have a kind of hazy goal, a vague destination somewhere over there that I want to head to. As I work my way through it, I find the roads and paths that I need and, after many a backtracking, I find my way to that point.
However, this time, I am only starting with a single reason; write about inspiration. But, I have no idea where I'm going.
I decided to write about inspiration because of something my sister said to me once. She told me that she had encouraged my father, who is writing a book, that he should go to a coffee shop once a week to sit and a write. My reflex was to laugh and think, "You don't go find inspiration! Inspiration finds you!" But, I think that I was wrong.
In my experience, inspiration is like having a fever -- hot and intense for a short time and, when it breaks, is gone for a long time. When I have written while in the grip of inspiration, I wrote like a maniac. My fingers pounded the keys like a woodpecker. I could sit for hours like that and lose my sense of time completely. But, if for what ever reasoned I paused, I lost it. The passion faded and I stared blankly at an unfinished sentence or a half-formed paragraph.
But, as I've grown up and taken writing more seriously, I've come to realize that inspiration is a gift, the gift of a good start. Inspiration allows us as writers (or more generally as artists) to start out strong and well. That initial start is only there to give us something to do. When the passion has faded and the fever has broken, can we, will we continue on or let the thing fade away? If we choose to continue on, we will find a nearly endless series of fits and starts, ups and downs, steps forward and back. The ground of the artist is uneven and the road, well it doesn't exist, does it? No one has ever written the story, painted the picture, or chiseled the sculpture that you're doing, have they? You're starting with a blank page and ending with a universe that no one else has seen. The empty canvas is like the empty sky, and the rough marble is like the rough planet. You don't want to make something that someone else has made. You want to be unique, original, and (this should always be your main focus) better than what you were last time you wrote.
So, when Inspiration has left you cold and alone, let that be a signal to you; you now have work to do.

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