We’re all looking for inspiration. We listen to the conversations strangers have behind us in a bus and we keep glancing longingly the couple living in their own world next to us in that small cafe we escape to write. Inspiration. So many ways to find it, so many ways to use it. And still, during the most radical moment, there is nothing. No inspiration, no ideas, no memories of those soothing moments of collecting new stories.
When you open my computer, it’s easy to identify me as a writer (or crazy delusional collector). My bookmarks are like an endless maze of folders after folders. Some named reasonably like “romance”, “scary” and “villains” while some just won’t make sense for anyone else expect me “umbrellas”, “kill my heart”, “flower field boys” and “cats with wings”. I keep saving new tabs every day because the idea has been for years to print some of the photos and texts saved in my maze of writing inspiration. After that, I could easily make stories using them. Guess how often I do this printing… Never.
The word alone sounds something magical. If you have the inspiration to write, you will have all the possibilities ahead of you. I dare to claim this as a lie. Inspiration is a good tool for everyone who wants to write but it’s also one of the biggest traps set for us. Those who cling to inspiration for their dear life will never get anything done. They will never finish any written work. Inspiration is intoxicating and perfect. It keeps your head in the clouds but won’t let your feet touch the ground and that’s the problem.
Writing is hard work. It takes time, willpower and everything you are ready to give for it. If you are not careful (or if you are ready to lose yourself), writing can take your whole life from you. And so keeping your feet on the ground is essential for being a writer. If you start daydreaming about new stories or someday publishing your own book while staring the white paper and pen waiting for you on the table, you never get anywhere. You will never start writing.
Inspiration is like a shovel in the writer’s hand. You can build amazing castles, cities and fantasy lands with it. If you keep shoveling to the same pile over and over again, these worlds will keep growing towards a full-length story. But without a plan and determination to build that one amazing fantasy land, this shovel of writing inspiration will be your curse. You can shovel quicker than when throwing every idea into the same pile but in the end, you won’t build anything. You will just dig a deeper and deeper hole for yourself trying to find new ideas all the time. Pick one idea, give your everything for it.
I’m too familiar with the curse called inspiration. I love searching for new photos and quotes to add my collection of inspiration. Then I start a new project so excitedly and thinking “This is it! I have finally found my story.” just to give up writing it after a few pages. I find something more exciting, more interesting and above all more inspiring.
One of the most popular reasons people don’t write is because they don’t have the inspiration right now. They can’t write because they aren’t inspired to do it. If you wait for the right moment and that never-ending inspiration, you will never write more than a few pages. You have to force yourself. It will suck. You will be in pain staring that white paper screaming at you to just give up, just to continue tomorrow, next week or maybe never. The inspiration will never strike at the right time. You will be on the busy morning bus going to work or having fun with your friends on movies.
“I will write this down when I get back to home. Tonight I will keep writing because I finally have inspiration.” And then you go home hours later but like always your mind is as blank as the paper.
This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn about writing and being a writer. I’m still trying to find the right way to beat this. The right way to tame my inspiration. But telling everyone to just pick that one story is a lot easier said than done. My inspiration is fighting back and trying to lure me into the wrong paths.
Is your inspiration as badass, distracting and evil as mine? Or am I the only writer who struggles to live with this thing called too huge imagination. Shouldn’t it be my biggest asset as a writer not that never-ending barrier between me and my dreams?
“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”
– Vincent van Gogh