Writing fiction, non-fiction, erotica–you name it–requires both perspiration and inspiration. I was at a writer’s seminar this year where a woman asked the presenter “How do you do it? I have to have everything complete and perfect before I can start writing. I need quiet, a bottle of wine, and inspiration.”
I figured that woman will likely never write a novel or more than a few pages in her lifetime. Think of this scenario:
I stand with my toes on the white line, my runner’s spikes are light on my feet–like my singlet and nylon shorts. But my legs feel slightly tight and tired from a workout earlier in the week. Other runners are next to me, lined up, facing down the track. The gun sounds. I pump my arms and legs, my breathing burning through my lungs to stay with the pack in the start.
Wind catches me on the backstretch, blowing into my face. The temperature is too cool. But even though conditions are not perfect, I forge ahead. My body becomes my machine and I push away the emotions. I keep pumping, knowing that I’m not feeling completely smooth. But I am determined to win the race.
Isn’t that the life of a writer? Especially those of us with families, jobs, and distractions that can tear us apart every day? Racing when feeling perfect is a wonderful feeling. But when I ran track in high school and my freshman year of college, I almost never felt perfect. I learned it was rare when all the conditions presented themselves neatly. They rarely did.
Writers who wait for the right conditions and the moments of inspiration will never finish what they set out to accomplish. Inspiration in writing does come first–an idea strikes and we take off into the story. But the inspiration flashes and disappears and we’re left with the perspiration — the work of developing the character, knowing the plot twists, sub-plots and minor characters. But when we slog through the perspiration, our payoff is more inspiration to create the next story.
Earlier this year, I fought through the tough conditions of writing in a household of up to 10 people and found my inspiration. Click here to see this post. Then I left on road trips in July and August, threatening my routines and my writing focus. Yet, I dutifully went through edits and now am back–determined to re-capture my writing presence and develop more characters and reach my writing goals.
Thanks for joining me on the journey. The photo used is from http://www.sxc.hu/profile/arinas74