Are you inspired? Truly inspired? Yeah, me either. But you know what…you don’t have to be truly inspired before you sit down in front of your laptop to write. I think that we have the wrong view of what it’s like to be a “real” writer. In a way, it’s a calling but in other ways, it’s just another job. And, like any job, you show up and do the work whether you’re inspired to do it or not. Have you ever told your boss that you just couldn’t do the spreadsheet that was due because you just weren’t inspired to do it? I didn’t think so. So, as writers, our job is to show up and do the work. Somedays, you won’t accomplish a lot but other days you will and you never know what day you’ll be prolific so you have to try every single day. And just write…even if it’s total crap. But think about this, in order to mine almost any precious gemstone, they usually have to dig through a lot of dirt and rocks to get to them. And even after they find them, there are going to be gemstones that aren’t worth keeping so they have to sort through all of them to find the ones worth keeping. Writing is like that. You sit down and start writing and you might produce ten pages that you decide aren’t worth even saving to your laptop but do it anyway. Tomorrow, you show up and you open that file which, you decide, is going to end up being taught in writing courses as the absolute wrong way to write. But you begin to read and somewhere in those ten pages, you find your gem. It might be just an idea or it could be the beginning of your book. So, lesson one is, do not get rid of anything that you write because you never know if, with a bit of mining, you’ll uncover a gem. Lesson two, inspiration does strike at times so I’m not denying that it does. When it does strike, you do have to write. You might still end up with ten pages of crap but you might not. All I’m saying is, you can’t afford to wait for it. Inspiration is fleeting and can strike at inopportune times, however, so you can’t always count on it. So, show up and be the inspiration with your hard work. We are writers. We write. We write through the crap to find our gems. Do you think that every single page that Stephen King, J. K. Rowling or George R. R. Martin writes is a gem? I can guarantee you that they’re not. But they show up and do the work. That is the key. So, get in there and write!
“Start writing no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on. ~ Louis L’Amour
Showing up is definitely the most difficult part but always the first step.