Monday, May 5, 2008

Inspire Me!

When inspiration hits, you got to run with it. Simple as that. The bad thing, inspiration is a fickle master or mistress depending on how you view things. It’s one of those half-full or half-empty situations. You’re either totally on, or dragging bottom wondering where the hell your muse has gotten to and who they’ve run off with. Cuz, they sure as hell ain’t helping you. I think Stephen King has them all locked up somewhere up in Maine, but that’s my opinion. Whatever the case, the dreaded Block happens more times than you’d like to admit. There are times I think an author’s natural state is blocked, with intermediate showers of inspiration falling when you least expect it.

A flowing story is a beautiful thing to behold. All is right in the world. The birds are singing. You never have to pay taxes and your children pick up after themselves without you having to tell them. The last one is a pipe dream but I had to get it out of my system. I needed the laugh. But, it’s true. When you’re writing and the book just seems to write itself that is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Nothing can beat it.

Now unless you live in some dream world of perfection, a self-writing book almost never happens. I’m not talking about throwing out a perfect book in a first draft. That never happens. I don’t care who you’re listening to. It NEVER happens. You might come close in a second draft but I dare you not to take a third go at it.

Another funny thing about inspiration, it hits you in the most unlikely of places and at the oddest times. Case in point. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve shut down my computer for the night and stepped into the shower, only to have the rest of a scene come pouring out, I’d be a millionaire. Well, a thousandaire. Inspiration is like that. I mean you’ve struggled half the night for one word, a sentence, and a frigging character to open their mouth and say, I’m going to do this. And nada, nothing but some channel surfing and some random IMing to see if you can drum some inspiration off someone else. The minute the water hits the back of your neck, slot A goes into slot B and you’re off. I’m waiting for a water friendly laptop to come out.

Did I forget to tell you, inspiration loves a car ride? Yep! You’re tooling down the highway and here comes your hero doing something well heroic. Have you ever tried to scramble for a pen and a napkin doing 60mph down the interstate? It’s not a pretty sight. I tried the whole digital voice recorder thing. It only works if you like the sound of your own voice, which I don’t and have a stock pile of batteries on hand, which I rarely do.

Notepads you say? I’m sorry but if it’s not typed on a computer I can’t read it, especially if it’s spanked out in my own handwriting. And don’t even get me started on asking the family to remember what you’re telling them. They give you the crazy look, and start dialing padded room 911 on speed dial.

Basically as a writer you’re on your own. Inspiration only loves you, if you’re willing to feed it and we can barely feed ourselves, because we’re trying to trap lightning in a bottle or drowning in one. That isn’t to say it never comes by for a visit. Inspiration loves to stop in, and drop a few subtle hints before leaving. You know, just enough to keep you hanging around waiting for another dose of the addictive stuff. Inspiration is addictive, don’t fool yourselves. It’s like writing. Once you get a taste, you might as well give up. You’re hooked for life. The secret is pamper your muse while it’s there and promise it anything to come back. First borns aside of course. Not even inspiration wants that headache.

In conclusion. If you have any questions, ask somebody else. I used all my inspiration up for the week writing this blog.


Helen said...

An inspiring blog. Me, I'm stuck at the perspiring stage.

Morgan2x said...

I think you'll find we're all at that stage, even when inspiration is working for us. It loves to see us sweat!!!