Writing

You Are Your Own Inspiration

Every Aspiring Writer and Author has days that are tougher than the rest.

“Some people say that amateurs find themselves waiting around for inspiration to strike, while professionals get up and get to work.”

I’ve found myself thinking about this oft-adapted quote a lot lately.  After an entire month of writing full time, neck-deep in the first round of manuscript revisions, I’m continuing to force myself to get up early every day and not sleep in.  Every afternoon I consciously refuse to let the time I spend working dwindle day-by-day until I find that I’m not actually working full time at all.

This quote has been a great reminder for me, something that helps me realize that there is a difference between dreams and discipline, talking about doing something and actually doing it, starting something and finishing it.  And I know that remembering what sets these things apart will lead to success.

There are days when we all feel like we’ve hit a block, and taking a break is fine, but it’s when those breaks become a habit that we run into problems.  I won’t bring up the dreaded Writers Block (I guess I just did, sorry!) because I’m not a huge believer in it, but some days are certainly harder than others.

Sometimes we feel like we’re drowning in our own creativity, while sometimes we feel like we’ve forgotten what inspiration even feels like.

So this is just a reminder, to myself and to everyone else, that on days when inspiration and creativity seem to have deserted us, we will always have our discipline and our craft.  Sometimes the very act of pushing through brings on the jolt of creativity we’ve been waiting our entire lives for.  Sometimes we keep working just to get the crap work out so we can move on.  And sometimes we find that what we thought was crap is actually the best idea we’ve ever had.

Take a breath, smile, and know that all the creativity and inspiration we ever need is right there inside of us. Just keep going until it comes out 😁.

26 comments on “You Are Your Own Inspiration

  1. mymindlessdrivel

    Nice. Blogger Hannah Heath said she doesn’t believe in Writer’s Block because writing is our ‘job’. You can’t show up to your clerking job at a bank and say “I have banking block today so I’m not going to do any work.” You can’t do that for any job, but writers give themselves permission to not only use, but embrace this excuse. She advocated putting a true name to the issue: “I’m out of any ideas”, “I can’t figure out how to make this scene work”, “I’ve been looking at this story so long my brain is bleeding”, or even “I’m bored with what I’m writing”. You can fix specifics, but nebulous writer’s block, or lack of inspiration, aren’t so fixable (more so the latter). You need inspiration? Go people watch, go explore someplace new even if it is in your own city, or read about something that you have little knowledge of but might fit into your story somewhere. As you say: You are your own inspiration.

    • I LOVE that! I’ve never consciously thought about how putting a specific name on the issue at hand would help so much, but ‘I can’t figure out how to make this ending more impactful’ or ‘I don’t know why this scene won’t make sense’ is SO much more helpful than ‘I have writer’s block’. That makes skipping a scene and moving on or writing a crappy one as a placeholder make much more sense as a way to keep working.

  2. Oh, man…now I can’t use that excuse anymore, you’ve ruined it for me ;)…valid point! Now I’ll have to make more effort and have fewer excuses to finish what I started. Nice touch.

    • My own excuse list is dwindling alarmingly fast haha – both a good and a bad thing! 🙂

      • Good to hear…I started out like you did, not on a FT basis but with some disciplined regularity and unfortunately slipped back out…I stopped being so hard on myself about it, realizing that I have to write for me and if I don’t work on a writing project, that’s okay, too.

        So what is your book about? I don’t remember reading on that…

      • Yeah I definitely try not to beat myself up about it.

        I wrote a quick synopsis right here (at the end): https://davidbenami.com/2019/02/19/how-to-edit-your-novel/ – let me know what you think!

      • not bad…two things immediately catch my eye: 1) when you go back and edit, remove all the uses of the word VERY because it’s rarely necessary and definitely overused; 2) get us, the readers, to how the assault/kidnap (no real details here) to knowing the first names of two other characters; there could be some interesting character interactions and storyline there. Otherwise, nice start to what I’m assuming is some type of action/fantasy novel.

      • Thanks for the feedback – very (get it?) helpful.

        More of a high concept thriller than action/fantasy. Looking forward to finishing more edits

      • Looking forward to reading more 👌

  3. Agree with you and comments here. Thinking of Julia Cameron and the “morning pages” and the trips to museums, concerts, gardens…etc. for inspiration. Wishing you just the right words to capture what you want to create!

  4. Writers block to me is a cheap excuse to watch TV. If I’m having a bad day writing, I do it anyway. Even if what comes out at the end is junk, I can always take that, shine it up, and turn it into gold.

    What I need to do is turn editing time into a little more productivity. I’m up to my eyeballs in editing “Dead Friends,” and I’m appreciating what Hemingway wrote about “write drunk, edit sober.” What I need to do is break away from half an hour or so, and work on other things. that way at least one novel is always moving from idea or draft to a state where it can go to editing.

    • Small breaks are super important for me while editing, too. After 45-60 minutes or so my mind starts to wander and the itch to go online comes back, so I usually get up for 10 minutes and do something else – chores, play with my dog, read, etc.

  5. Very motivating article for a Writer. Anand Bose from Kerala.

  6. As a comedy writer and performer, I must say this has helped me to look for inspiration in the unlikeliest of places and “blocks”. Thanks for this changing piece.

  7. Writers block? What’s that? Oh, that’s the myth that get’s shattered when I sit down at the keyboard and start writing. The days I don’t feel like writing, I still do it. It’s a little like running. If you don’t feel like running, you don’t do it that day. And then the next, and the day after that, and before too long, years have passed.

    Even if what appears on the screen in garbage, one can always polish garbage and turn it into a treasure.

    At the very least, I’m not giving into an excuse.

    • Yes, I couldn’t agree more! “Even if what appears on the screen is garbage, one can always polish garbage and turn it into a treasure.” I love it.

  8. I agree that there is no such thing as a “Writer’s Block”. Someone else mentioned Julia Cameron’s “The Artists Way”, and her idea of “Morning Pages”. I started doing that almost forty years ago and it was the best thing I ever did. It also helped me to fully understand that a writing block is a myth. What is good about morning pages, or a journal, is that it swiftly becomes a stream of conscious writing tool. I started giving titles to some of those pages. Like “Writing myself out of a place I’m already into.” That wasn’t about writing, but the title made me laugh and loosened me up enough to get what I needed from the experience. Why I Don’t Want to Write might be another good one. As writers, we only have our own experience and imagination to bring to the task. And past experiences can have a great deal of sway in the present moment. Another good idea is to sit down with pen and paper and write out, at least ten times, “I am a good and capable writer.” Leaving space between each entry. Listen to what’s going on in your head. There will be voices from the past that will come forward and argue the statement you are writing. Can you prove them wrong? Are they individuals you respect? Why are you listening to them? Why do they still hold power over you? By doing such things, we only add to our own experience and feed our own imaginations. We grow from the process of writing, every time we use it. If you have a dream about being a writer, what thing are you doing today to move that dream closer to reality?

    Elizabeth
    https://1sojournal.wordpress.com

    • I’ve heard that book recommended several times, but am embarrassed to say that I’ve never gone to actually read it. It sounds like you’d strongly recommend it – would you say that?

      As for morning pages, do you use them more as a personal journal, or can you also write little snippet stories if you’re feeling like it?

      • Yes, I highly recommend it. Have even used it for classes I have taught. Morning pages are whatever you make them. Yes, for me, they became my journal, but also a place to explore whatever was passing through my mind: snippets of poetry, an outline for an essay or short story, a song lyric that might be haunting me for some reason, and the curiosity to find out why. What they are is whatever the individual decides they might become. Sometimes no more than the collecting of garbage left over from the day before. Which is freeing in its own right/write. My site at https://1sojournal.wordpress.com began as an effort to encourage others to attempt to create a regular writing regimen, whether they wanted to become a writer or a plumber. It is chock full of essays pertaining to the singular benefits of taking the time to write on a daily basis. It does have a search engine and if you type in “regular writing regimen” you will find a great deal of my own adventures in doing so. And lots more… On another note, the first class I taught at the University was titled “How to Connect With Your Creativity” and it was all about writing daily.

        Elizabeth

      • I love it! A regimen is so important. I think I’ll have to give morning pages a try. Thanks so much for getting back to me!

  9. My apologies for not responding sooner. I somehow missed the notification of your response to my original comment. I have been busy, working on two different manuscripts, but also dealing with some physical issues. My only hope is that my current response is a more complete response to your questions. Thank you,

    Elizabeth

  10. The only thing you have to remember is that there are no rules, other than the ones you yourself create. I would just write until I knew I was done. For the most part, that ended up being three or four pages. Sometimes less than one, and on rare occasions five or six. There is an incredible freedom in that No Rules definition. And it spreads to other things. Wishing you the best of luck,

    Elizabeth

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