Inspiration: Part 2

I suppose a lot of readers may suppose that fiction, and all other art for that matter, comes from deep wells in moments of brilliance.  And if they don’t suppose that it all comes from such sources, they may well think that the best comes from such sources and the rest is dross, because it does not.  I can tell you that is not the case.  I don’t have to look to my own experience to tell you this; I have heard it from acknowledged masters in the field of writing.  I won’t put myself up there among them.

I have a little volume titled, Writers on Writing, and while there are some grandiose quotes from writers on the subject of inspiration, there are also some more down to earth ones.  I find the down to earth ones more useful than the grandiose, not that I haven’t had a few moments, rare though they may be that rhyme with the grandiose notions of inspiration.

Here are a few of the quotes from Writers on Writing that help my work ethic as a writer.

“I don’t wait to be struck by lightning and don’t need certain slants of light in order to write. – Toni Morrison

“I don’t know anything about inspiration because I don’t know what inspiration is; I’ve heard about it, but I never saw it.” – William Faulkner

“A man may write at any time, if he will set himself doggedly to it.” – Samuel Johnson

This one I found I found online, and it is pretty widely published.

“If you only write when you’re inspired you may be a fairly decent poet, but you’ll never be a novelist because you’re going to have to make your word count today and those words aren’t going to wait for you whether you’re inspired or not.” – Neil Gaiman

I like to have a great idea that I just have to get on paper or on the screen immediately.  That’s a great thing, but it doesn’t happen every day.  The good thing is, that practice and effort may bring about something like inspiration. It’s called discipline, and its how work gets done.  Thinking through my fingers as I do when I write or type may lead to great ideas if am disciplined enough to keep at the job.  It often leads to stories that get completed and published.  I’ll not complain about that.  My advice to aspiring writers, writers awaiting inspiration is to sit down and write whether you are inspired or not.

 

 

 

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One thought on “Inspiration: Part 2

  1. Hi Robert
    I find that when I get a good idea – often while out walking the dogs in the morning – it’s usually a short story idea, which is why I prefer them. A novel may be based on an idea but then you have to work out a plot – perhaps using those many templates on line – and writing it is a pretty mechanical slog. With a short story you can often bash out a first draft in a day and then tinker with it later. Short stories are a lot more fun. Pity they’re not read more.

    I say ‘get a good idea’ but it doesn’t fall from the sky. My brain is doing word association, thinking of ordinary things and how they might be different or fantastic and generally working away in a process that is hard to describe. But it’s thought, not inspiration. I heard Paul McCartney saying once, you don’t just wake up and say ‘Hey, bacon and eggs!’ and write a song. You have to sit down with a guitar and play around a bit and bring your experience to bear. Ditto with a keyboard or notepad for writers.

    Like

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