Deceitful writing inspiration

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.

Inspiration.

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

I am a writer!

I am a writer!

You have to say it out loud, write it every day, tell it to strangers on a bus and for your family who keeps judging you constantly. You have to shout it out loud in the middle of the night even if it means waking up the innocent neighbors. Every morning right after waking up whisper those four magical words ten times. Sooner or later it will become the truth. This is the most important lesson I have learned during the last three years.

I have always been a writer. In primary school, I struggled when we started to learn writing and reading.  It was easy for everyone else but I just couldn’t do it. I was one of the last kids in my class who passed the reading test. After I got a hold of the writing nothing could stop me. My parents put me on a weekly writing club and I attended there for seven years. Writing become my passion.

Then I went to high school. I was too old for the writing club and my school days lasted from early morning until late evening. There was not enough time for writing my own stories when I had to do the essential school projects. My mind was lost but I kept going.

Years went by, I graduated from high school, took a year off from school, started blogging and applied to study business in university. I wrote when I had time but it felt just so useless. Painful even. Creative writing was my thing but it would never be my future, right?

Two years ago everything changed quickly. I was starting to make some money as a freelance writer. My free time was filled with me writing everything and anything all the time. Then one afternoon in school our teacher asked the important question that was going to change everything. In fact, that question is the reason I decided to drop out of my university and pursue writing as a possible career option.

“What is the one thing that you are good at?”

I didn’t have to think. My thing was writing, it had always been. When it was my turn to answer, I told that exact thing for an auditorium full of people. I am good at writing. Six months later that short sentence changed to even shorter and life-changing one: I am a writer. I had dropped out of my business studies and found out that you can study creative writing in Finnish open university as a major even if you can’t do that in normal university.

After starting my creative writing studies and after getting hooked on writing guides for the first time in my life, I quickly noticed that everyone was telling me to start from an easy task to become a real writer. Say it to yourself: I am a writer. Not a good writer, not a bad writer, just a writer. Anyone can be a writer as long as they have a notebook and pen, computer or just phone. It starts with telling it to yourself and everyone around you. I am a writer. I will keep writing. This is what I want to do and so I will keep trying as long as it takes.

That’s why I started this new blog and decided to share my thoughts on the internet. I want to scream it for everyone who has the patience to listen to me. I am a writer. Can you hear me? Writer. Someone who writes. That person you can see writing in cafes, sitting on a park bench with a notebook or scribbling to her phone in full bus. I’m a blogger who will be happy as long as she can keep writing for the rest of her life.

I am a writer.

When you can’t read – Chronic Illness

It’s mid-summer and I find myself reading a book at my mum’s backyard. Sun caresses my skin while the wind makes the heat bearable. For most readers and writers this moment may seem ordinary but for me, it’s far from that. When I say “I find myself reading a book” it’s a complete truth.

It’s mid-summer and I’m not 100% sure what has happened during the last few months. My mind is full of short memories but they don’t fit in together. So many days have just disappeared forever. One thing is sure – reading has been impossible without feeling like dying afterward. Doing the one thing I love more than anything has been impossible.

That’s chronic illness for you.

Three years ago I lost my ability to do anything. For weeks I couldn’t even stand on my own. After that my life has been a hell that only I can feel. In theory, living is possible – if you can survive on your own without dying apparently it’s not a real problem. But at the same time for me, everything has been pure darkness.

Like reading.

I have always loved reading. At some point in my life, I read 7 books per week. It was my lifestyle. Books and reading were everything I wanted to do before my chronic illness took over. Of course, I was still able to read. But not like before.

If I decided to read it meant doing nothing else on that day. And when I started reading it would get harder after every page. One chapter. Then I had to stop. One chapter. Break. One chapter. Break. One chapter. What did I read last time? Can’t remember, go back. Is this really worth the pain and suffering?

My chronic illness took away the one thing I love most. Or well, in fact, two of those things. Writing – the other love of my life. For the last three years, I have been stuck with poems. Something short before the headache and fatigue take over. Imagine your life in 10-minute cycles. That has been me for the last 3 years – some months better some a lot worse.

But today I opened a book and read, read and read.

It’s giving me hope. Maybe this time I will truly get better? Maybe this time they have truly found out what’s causing this to happen? I’m hoping so much it’s hurting. Not only because living three years in hell at your early twenties feels such a waste. No, I’m hoping because this year my dreams are finally coming true and being chronically ill stands between me and the world I want to conquer.

I decide to read one more chapter. Just one more because today may be the last time I’m still able to do it. No one knows what happens tomorrow but I have hope. Hope that there are still thousands of books waiting for me to read them.

“Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”

Laini Taylor

Writing like I’m dying

I have always loved writing. At the young age of 9 my parents sent me to weekly creative writing group for kids. For the next 7 years I biked weekly to my local library and wrote with other same minded teens. There was times when just me and my best friend showed up but also times when over ten kids would run around the library trying to spy people for their next stories.

Wednesday evenings were my safe heaven.

But my love for writing and telling stories doesn’t mean that I was good at it. I learned reading as the last one on my class. Words and alphabets didn’t come easy to me. If I wrote something without paying too much mind to it, no one could understand my messy hand-writing. And despite this I continued writing.

When I was just a kid with unsaid dreams everything seemed so easy. Writing – dreaming of career as an author. But then reality hit me. Adults aren’t supposed to dream of impossible things. It would be easy to tell million stories of the time when I gave up and maybe in the future I will but now it’s easier to jump back to the current times.

I found my dreams again.

It’s not easy. There’s so much doubt in my mind but all I can do is try my best. All I know is that I want to write. That’s it. Sounds simple. And that’s why I decided to start this blog.

Last week I got letter that I was accepted to Finland’s best creative writing school to study for one year. It feels like my dreams are slowly coming true. And so I want to blog all about it. I’m eager to share my story (and maybe learn better English in the process).