inspired space

Inspiration and Writing

“Show up, show up, show up,” Isabelle Allende advised “and after a while the muse shows up, too.”

It works! It works! The advice works! For the past month I’ve been plagued with writer’s block and procrastination. I’m not entirely sure if they are two separate entities or if there’s a causal relationship but I do know I’m close to shutting down my facebook account- again. (Every couple of years whenever the procrastination gets too bad, I go cold turkey and shut down my fb. It is never meant to be permanent, just a temporary solution to wean myself off it until whatever urgent deadline gets met).

Isabelle Allende’s advice came at the perfect time. I found it on a wonderful website I follow called Brainpickings

I am addicted to reading blogs about writing. I”m not sure if this is just another procrastination tool or if writing is such a lonely craft that I crave companionship and the desire to connect with people. Anyway, every once in awhile I come across advice that just sticks in my mind – like Ms Allende’s insight.

For two weeks I got up extra early and gave myself an hour to stare at a blank screen. Slowly the words started coming. Painfully. Gritting my teeth. Like tattooing your arm with a compass. The first couple of days I made 100 words. Whenever I got stuck on a plot point, I forced myself to actively think out scene possibilities. In the past, I mulled over plot points on public transport, in the shower, any time I wasn’t actively using my brain. In a moment of clarity, I suddenly realised this isn’t a very effective working method for me. I start rudimenting about a specific plot or character problem at the beginning of my commute but by the end, I’m lost in some epic fantasy about leading a resistance again communist zombies on unicorns or something equally stupid and random. (which would be fine if I was writing fantasy/ horror but I’m writing romance at the moment)

By the end of the second week I’d reached 500 words in an hour. Of course, this type of output is unsustainable throughout the day but I’m loving my early morning starts. It’s like yoga for my brain. Maybe for some talented writers, inspiration strikes at random moments catalyzing a deluge of prose and poetry. For me, I need strategy and discipline to actively seek out inspiration and force it onto the page.





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