Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Waiting patiently for inspiration to strike?

Writer's nook by omoo

  My favourite quotation is this one from Mary Heaton Vorse: “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.”  Nothing could be more true!

I’m currently surrounded by inspired writers – and for some reason, none of their enthusiasm is wearing off on me.  What’s up with that?

A month ago I met a group of young writers with whom I’m going to be working this year, and they amazed me with their energy and creativity.  I’m eagerly waiting to read some samples of the projects they’re working on in preparation for our first coaching session next month.

My writing group (six women who meet at a downtown coffee shop once a month to hash out the trials and triumphs of the writing life) is following a “Done” campaign.  As soon as we finish our writing quota for the day, we fire off a group email with “Done” in the subject line.  It’s like a mini-deadline that helps to keep us on track and, we hope, inspired. I haven’t sent one “Done” yet.

One of these writing friends has also signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and is dutifully churning out her daily quota along with blogs and tweets galore.

And to top it off, my own 13-year-old son has signed on for the NaNoWriMo for Young Writers and is right on track for his ultimate word count and a finished novel.

So what’s my problem?  I have a job that sucks the energy out of me and fills most of the hours of my day.  I’m tired, and I’m burdened with a To Do list that seems to go on forever.  Writing?  Inspiration?  Forget it.  When I have a few spare minutes, I’m hitting the couch for a few minutes of mindless TV until inspiration strikes.

Not so fast! Here’s another of my favourite quotations:  “Ten percent inspiration, ninety percent perspiration.” 

In other words, don’t hide behind that “waiting for the right time” or “waiting for a good idea” excuse.  Write!  Right now!  Inspiration is just a tiny part of the equation.  Tickle that vague creative idea till it squeaks. Make the effort.  Just apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair and get writing.

So in among the “Done’s” and the reports on NaNoWriMo and the writing samples from my young writers, there’s no excuse for me to wait any longer.  Inspired or not, I’m a writer, and I’m writing!

(Photo: omoo on a Creative Commons licence)

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