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Inspiration To Write
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Inspiration to Write

What does it take to keep you writing?

This is the question I recently asked my writing and blogging friends and the answers (some of them hilarious) ranged from "four extra shots in my latte," "getting out of my house/office and visiting a new place or traveling somewhere," and "discipline--sheer discipline," to "taking cues from my two-year-old," "a large pitcher of mojito cocktails," and "bubble baths."

Actually, this is a question I ask myself practically every single day and I don't always have an answer, funny or otherwise. It would be just as easy and very true for me to say, "Anything and everything," if it didn't sound so glib. Plus if I say that, my article would actually end right here before I even hit the minimum required 400-word mark for publishing here! Then where would I be?

There is nothing worse than staring at a blank word document and being unable to get started writing. But what is it you are unable to write? That perfect article, story or novel that begins at the beginning, immediately engages the reader and cleverly weaves itself into a great ending--written all in one first shot? Maybe, maybe not. If that is what you're expecting, you risk just sitting there and staring at your computer.

I'm sure any successful professional author might have amazing words of wisdom and some basic ground rules he or she follows. But I'm not a professional author (notice I didn't say I'm not successful!) and I do not have ground rules for writing other than I try to avoid misspelling things and using incorrect punctuation or grammar.

So how do I write and what do I expect of myself? (Clearing my throat and putting on the air of authoritative wisdom.) First, I rarely sit down at my keyboard and take down a fully developed complete piece of work the first time through. I know of only one writer who could do that consistently and it was L. Ron Hubbard at the height of his pulp fiction fame in the 1930's. He could pound out a great story in one quick sitting that his editors didn't even have to touch. I admire that and aspire to it!

I've learned that ideas can come at odd times and during all kinds of occasions. I write them down whenever I get them whether it's on a little notepad I keep in my purse, recorded on my smart phone or on the proverbial cocktail napkin. I don't like to write on my hands and arms but it's okay if you do. Sometimes its just a phrase, a topic, a question, even a word. But I do write it down because the idea may only be a faint flash of inspiration showing itself ever so slightly like an answer on a magic 8 ball, only to fade away a second later.

I don't judge or discount ideas at this point, I just note them. And if I don't lose the note, and if I can remember anything about why I thought this was an idea or what my notation means, then it goes into my computer in a special file called, "Ideas" (clever, right?). It is merely a raw ingredient at this point. It doesn't even have to seem related to my so-called niche of natural food cooking.

Truth be told, once I have written some of these raw ingredients down, I rarely look at them again. They have already begun to assemble themselves into a recipe of inspiration which tumbles out the next time I sit down to write.

One of my best blogging buddies used the word "tomfoolery" in a blog post and that word really struck me as an amusing word that I don't often hear. I tried the word out a few times in conversation and even looked it up in a dictionary to see its derivation. I've made that word my own and even though right here is the only place I've written it so far, it was still somehow inspiring. My friend had written about "Christmas tomfoolery." That stuck with me and evolved in my universe into a Christmas blog about being a writer.

How a bit of inspiration--that raw ingredient I picked up--becomes a piece of written work is unimportant. I am not the least bit interested in dissecting my inner workings so I can understand the stream of consciousness. I'm just interested in whether I'm inspired to write or not and whether I think the written product is also useful, entertaining, inspiring or satisfying.

To whom? What I'm asking is, who is supposed to be entertained, inspired or satisfied? My primary answer is "Me." I have to like it. If I like it, I will post it. And I am not the least bit concerned initially with whether anyone else will like it. [Though I truly appreciate when I do get responses, feedback and comments from others, of course!]

The worst thing you can do as a writer, is denigrate your own writing, ideas or talent--even if it's just a fleeting thought. I'm very sure that a lot of potentially great writing gets lost that way because it never sees the light of day. Believe me, I know how deadly this can be. There are so many wonderful opportunities for writers to hone their skills and see their name and work up in lights (the light of the computer monitor, for instance). There's blogs, there's Street Articles, there's webpages and all kinds of other outlets.

Yes, writing is a communication and yes, you are putting your communication out to someone so it can be received and duplicated and hopefully appreciated. But if you don't write, don't post or publish and you continually consider your ideas are "rubbish" you will never even get your communication written down much less delivered to anyone.

If you don't want to post or publish something, write it anyway. Just keep writing every day. And do post or publish. You will find a multitude of fellow writers and bloggers who are not only doing what you do, but they also read what others write and encourage other authors. It's a reciprocal arrangement and makes for an excellent playing field.

To summarize, ideas and inspiration are everywhere. Write them down and then be your own best fan of what you write.


Street Talk

Thank you Shawn! I'm always looking for ways to do that.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I love your positive approach!

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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