Friday, September 7, 2012

Waiting for Inspiration

I've known a lot of people over the years who call themselves writers, who love to talk about writing and all its aspects and who are thrilled to discuss their books in particular with you if you ask. But there's one problem: they don't write.

Oh, they do, but they wait for inspiration.

Unfortunately, contracted deadlines don't wait for inspiration.

Writing is a lot like anything else: the more you do, the more natural it feels. (I was going to say "the easier it gets," but that's a lie. It's rarely easy. It's constantly learning, practicing, working, improving.) If you write on a regular schedule, odds are that your story is going to flow regularly, too. Writing's an art, but it's also a job, and unless you're luckier than me, you have to do a job whether you feel inspired or not.

I read a quote -- wish I knew who said it: "I only write when I'm inspired, so I make a point of being inspired every morning at 9 a.m."

When wanting to tell the characters' stories isn't enough to get me to the computer, the inspiration of a deadline does the trick.


  1. That's the one thing that would make me nervous. Writing for a deadline. I figure I would just freeze up and choke. :P

    I don't know how you do it. You inspire us all!

    1. The first time I ever had to set a deadline, I was clueless, so my editor, Leslie Wainger, suggested three months. If I needed more time, all I had to do was ask, and if I turned it early, that was fine, too.

      I'd never paid attention to how much I wrote before that, and I went into panic mode. I wrote six-eight hours every day, so afraid I wasn't going to meet the deadline.

      Three weeks later I put the book in the mail and learned one of my first valuable lessons: how to estimate how long a book will take.

      Heck, I don't have time in my schedule for writer's block. Maybe that's why I've never had it. :)

  2. Yesterday at our branch meeting of RWNZ Coast to Coast Chapter, our guest speaker was Nalini Singh...and she talked about promotion and emphasised that to be successful first finish the book.

    Kind of obvious isn't it.

    RWNZ has The Clendon Award aka "Finish the damn book."
    Barbara Clendon a longtime supporter of RWNZ and bookstore owner got tired of people talking about the books they were writing.

    Was it a success...past winners Kylie Short, Melissa James, Bronwyn Jamieson...other place getters Nalini Singh, the late Sandra Hyatt, Yvonne Lidsay to name but a few.

    So yes, finishing that book is so important if you ever want to have it published.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Shirley!

      I've met tons of writers who say they're writers, but that's just what they want to BE, not what they want to DO. One woman I knew years ago told me that she'd cleaned her office and found 97 partial manuscripts -- each one three chapters and a synopsis -- but not one single finished book. Can't get sold that way, you know?

      Wonderful idea for the contest. And some great winners, too!