Inspiration versus Perspiration
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
Art isn't easy, but is it one part inspiration and ninety-nine parts perspiration, or the other way around?
How would you define 'writing?' Some descriptions should spring to mind, I think:
a tortuous, often unrewarding act, the most unproductive hours in a day, prolonged procrastination, extended deep-thinking...
Clearly, I jest.
But writing IS the act of doing, and the doing is ultimately putting words on the page that tell a story and hopefully engage a reader. There are other components certainly, such as thinking about what you're going to write. For me, after my day's pages are done, I always think about what comes next and what I've just written. It just happens.
This isn't about plotting necessarily, either. It's really just thinking about the process I'm in the middle of, and mentally preparing myself for the next leg of the race.
It starts with an idea, a passion. Maybe better put, something I want to say or explore. That's the spark. But it's going to take a lot of fanning to turn that spark into an inferno of a manuscript.
The idea must keep you engaged and excited to endure the long soul crushing hours spent in solitude finding the perfect word(s) to explain the pictures you are transcribing from your head—that is, if you work as I do.
I've started and stopped several times and each time it was because I was not excited by the idea or the heart of my story. My heart just wasn't in it. How can we expect to reach our reader's hearts when we haven't bared our own on the page?
To give your readers what they want—a story that engages their senses, captures their minds, and stimulates their hearts—you're going to have to sweat it out. Ninety-nine percent perspiration, but that one-percent of inspiration has the most important part of all—to sustain and drive you through the marathon of putting thousands upon thousands of words on the page.
Find your spark. You'll know it when you feel it. The glow will be blinding, and the excitement it causes you unbridled. It should feel like you've just released the genie from the bottle.
If it doesn't, write it down and put it aside. You never know—that idea may come back later in a slightly different form or collide with another and presto, magic time.
Let's get to work. Follow your curiosity and your passion. Listen to your inner voice(s). Pay attention to what makes you mad, makes you laugh, and makes you cry. I bet there's an interesting story there.
See you on the other side!