Don’t Seek Inspiration

Right now I’m in a fiction writing workshop in school and I wrote the first draft of my short story in about a day.  Now, that is not trying to brag or anything because it was actually something I wasn’t very proud of and will probably never share with anyone outside of that class.  I didn’t have a great idea for it and I didn’t have a lot of passion for that particular story, but I kind of consider it a practice story.  It’s not a story that will necessarily be published, but it helps me to learn the process.

One of the major things that I have always complained about is lack of inspiration.  There are a lot of areas in my life where inspiration is what I’m seeking and I have recently come to the realization that seeking inspiration is actually the wrong way to go about things.  Just. Write.  That whole “Just Do It” campaign is really true.  And it is proved by this past Monday night.  Every Monday I meet a couple of friends to hang out and (supposedly) write.  And I rarely write anything.  Why?  Because there are people there to distract me, mostly.  But the main reason they are able to distract me is because I don’t feel “inspired”.  This past Monday they were late.  I spent an hour and a half in the coffee shop by myself before they got there.  I did not feel “inspired” when I first went in there.  But I opened my notebook and I started writing.  I wrote two pages.  (And my handwriting is tiny so it’s more like 3 typed pages.)

Is all of that stuff that will actually end up in the final novel?  I don’t know.  I have to get to the end of it and start revising to find that out, but I was writing.  Writing breeds more writing.  I started writing and I got distracted a few times (primarily because I forgot my ear buds) but the more words I wrote the more words crowded into my head.  When they actually came in I was actually a little bit disappointed.  Not because I was unhappy to see them, I was actually very happy because they are two of my favorite people in the world, but because it interrupted my flow.

My biggest problem with writing (right now) is discipline.  I need to discipline myself to actually write every day.  Even if it’s only a few minutes before I’m totally out of ideas.  But I need to be better about that.  I know that I won’t do particularly well with a specific schedule, meaning I will write from x time to y time and I will clean my house at z time, because I will fall off track a little bit and I’ll get really angry with myself and I’ll be really discouraged.  (I do at least know that about myself.)  But I can make goals.  So, my goal is to write something, at least one sentence, on my novel every day.

As I said before, I am in school.  I also have a full-time job and I own my home so I am fully responsible for the cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, and such and I’m also working on getting healthier so I have to have time to exercise.  However, despite all of the things that are already on my schedule I absolutely have time to write a sentence.  This sentence took me less than a minute to write.  Even with all the backspacing I did.  And even though my hand writing is slightly slower than my typing, it will still take me MAYBE one minute to write a sentence in my novel.  Maybe.  I can spare one minute.  Especially when I spend most of my time at home watching Criminal Minds on Netflix.  Even if I write my sentence while I’m cooking or on the toilet!  How long to we spend on the toilet every day?  I can totally fit in a sentence there.  Probably not when I’m at work, because people would give me weird looks, but certainly at home.

So, there it is.  Don’t seek inspiration, create discipline.  That is my goal and that is what I will probably have to continue to strive for for a long time.  But it is worth it.


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