Inspiration

One of the major topics that I come across as I dove into the craft of writing is the idea of “inspiration.” Some writers have difficulty getting inspired to write, but that has never been my problem. Inspiration for writing has always come to be extremely easily, I get inspired while watching television, in the shower, standing in the check-out line at the supermarket, or silently contemplating some obscure math problem while in a bout of insomnia. When I do get inspired to write, I usually go into a mental state where I become so absorbed by an idea that words pour out of me freely without me having to put any conscious effort.

The problem isn’t that I don’t get inspired to write, it is that inspiration is a fickle resource. Sometimes there would be weeks or months where I receive no inspiration, and I stare at a the computer screen with glazed eyes unable to write a word. But the real problem with inspiration is that it often tells me what to write instead of the other way around.

Sometimes I would like to work on a science fiction novel, but all that comes out of my pen is a poem about the dreadful weather outside. (I rarely write using pen anymore, but the expression is so ingrained that it’s difficult to use any other word.) Sometimes I want to write a poem about something profound that has happened in my life, but all that could come out is the first chapters of a comedic novel. I even once wrote a 2,000 word introduction to quantum mechanics in the middle of a romance novel even though it didn’t make sense.

Some writers recommend that you forget inspiration, and simply treat writing as work that must be done like cleaning the house. I think that through a routine of writing everyday a person can obtain inspiration, but I think inspiration is a vital ingredient in writing and any creative activity. I can tell that the quality of my poetry is greatly affected by my level of inspiration. But the best argument, at least for me, on why inspiration is important is that inspiration makes writing fun. When I am compelled by an inspirational idea or vision to do work, it is no longer work but an exciting adventure through my imagination. To strip creative work of any inspirational qualities would make it regular old boring work.

Unfortunately, being inspired doesn’t necessarily mean being able to produce good work. After writing a piece of work, I still find it necessary to go back and fix the language I used, rewrite certain scene so they are easier to read, and discard scenes. I find such work not very inspirational, and the only thing that drove me was my sense of determination. Despite this, without a core of an inspired vision I don’t think my writing would be as interesting as it is.

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