Inspiration is a Fickle Fiend

Big Red

When inspiration hits and you don’t have conventional paper

It’s a wonderful feeling, inspiration. Those little gifts from your brain that turn into brilliant ideas and creative works. The stuff that really gets your brain ink going. Whether you are working out a problem or writing, inspiration is the vehicle or lubricant that makes the process easier.

But inspiration is a fickle fiend. Once you’ve acquired a taste for it, it’s difficult to function without it. Like a drug you can’t quit. And a drug you can’t always get — it supplies you whenever it damn well pleases. Usually not on your own terms.

Despite what it might sound like, having a lack of inspiration isn’t writer’s block. The gears in your head still turn and you can put thoughts together. You just have to crank the handle manually and perspire a bit.

Writer’s block…is essentially when the thinking mechanism of your brain says “F-You,” packs a bag, and leaves you on the doorstep of desperation.

But for me, a lack of inspiration might as well be writer’s block, because I never get anything done without it. I suppose I’ve gotten addicted to the feel of it, and think that if I’m not feeling it, the time isn’t right for writing.

It’s a little more than not being motivated.

When I’m inspired, I can’t stop writing. Or I can’t stop talking. I know exactly what I want to say and how I’m going to say it. But most of all, I think my words matter. I believe they mean something. When I’m not inspired, I am quiet – on paper and otherwise. I’m not one to talk for the sake of talking. The words flow when I think I have something important to say.

I’ve heard that’s a lazy way of going about things – waiting for inspiration.  As a writer and as a thinker, you have to be disciplined, and you have to mentally sweat, practicing your craft daily.

I just don’t know about that. I write for me, because I enjoy it and think it’s fun. And if I have nothing to say, I have nothing to say. I’m not going to beat myself up over that. Or stare blankly at a computer screen, typing nonsense every once and a while.

I’d much rather spend that time riding my bike, going for a run or hanging out with friends.

Maybe I’m not taking my craft seriously enough. Maybe I’m doing it a grievous injustice by allowing myself to be so easily swayed by the fickle fiend of inspiration.

Or maybe…after a 4 year hiatus from creative writing, I just need to ease myself back into it. Blogging, I hope, will be the segue-way and will give me the courage to start cranking those gears on my own, without waiting for inspiration to do it for me.

And I honestly think I’ve begun to do that. Every week I rack my brains, trying to come up with a topic to write about. In the end, I always come up with something. How’s that discipline?

Discipline: You’re cute.

Me: I’m really trying!

Discipline: You’ll get there.

Writing is a journey. And I’ve only just gotten started.