Strike Inspiration

6:00 AM

You know that moment when you're sitting there, minding your own business, and suddenly ... WHAM! 

Inspiration strikes!

You stand there, mouth opening and closing like a goldfish pulled from the water. Then you suck in a breath, sputter, blink, and bolt for the nearest writing utensil and paper, to the bewilderment of your family and friends. 

We all have experienced this at some point in our lives. It kind of comes with being a writer. We have wild imaginations that are constantly at work, even if it's in our subconscious. And those gears produce ideas, and those ideas feed into our lives and make themselves known.

We've all experienced this, yes. But what about The Blank Page? You finally get time to sit down and write, and you pull up your document and ... nothing. You sit there and stare, and you have ... nothing. All you can think about is what will happen on the next episode of The Flash and what time would be best to sneak up on your cat so you can wash him? (he smells like fish)

While it's great when inspiration strikes, it's horrible when it doesn't. When it refuses to show up.

Sometimes we mope. We claim we "don't want to write" so we don't. We slouch about and pout.

But is that any way to act?

Inspiration is not going to show up every day. And most of the time, you're going to have to go after inspiration with a hammer. 

Why let inspiration bully you any longer? Well, I've got news for you. Inspiration is over. And I don't know about you, but I'm done letting it bounce out of my reach. I'm done letting it be the boss of me.

It's time for us to be the ones to hit inspiration for a change. And that steel hammer looks like a good tool to start with.

Striking inspiration isn't fun. It's hard. It's like slugging through a river of cold butter. So in order to take a stand against this annoying inspiration beast, you're going to have to get over some things.

It won't be perfect.

The words you're grinding out are going to be ugly. They're going to sound like a toddler wrote them. The story you're crafting in this state is going to be riddled with plot holes.

In short, it's all going to stink. A lot.

But you've taken a step. You've gotten somewhere. You now have ground on which to stand. You have a starting point. And I can guarantee you that the next draft will be better than the last one.

In order to push through and hammer down inspiration, you have to remember ...

It won't be fun.

Writing without inspiration is unpleasant. You want to pull your hair out sometimes. You want to slam your head against the keyboard. You want to scream until your throat is hoarse. You'll be thinking, "What happened to the days of carefree, easy writing?"

Not only will it not be perfect or fun.

It won't be easy.

Someone (I'm not sure who originally said it) once said, "If writing was easy, everyone would do it." That's true about everything, isn't it? If painting was easy, we'd all be painters. If hockey was easy, we'd all be hokey players. Breathing is easy, and we all breathe, right?

But the easy things are the things people don't really look for. People don't seek out others who can breathe because everyone can do it.

When you don't have inspiration, you're going to sit at that keyboard and stare at that page and nothing. is. going. to. come. And it's going to be so frustrating. But take a deep breath and just start. Write about what your character had for breakfast. Write some of their thoughts. What's their best childhood memory? How many siblings did their best friend have? What's their biggest regret, and what in the story made them think of it and wish once again to change it?

Write garbage. Write trash. WRITE. And it'll flow eventually.

Sit down with your notebook and list all the plot holes. Don't wait for a realization to dawn about how to fix all the plot issues. Sit down and ask those questions, and think of logical answers. Create. Make the solutions come.

It won't be easy. It won't be fun. And it certainly won't be perfect. This attempt to strike inspiration will be grueling and miserable.

But it will be worth it.

It may not feel worth it in the moment. But if you wait for inspiration to write and build your story, you're not going to make much progress. You're going to fly to a gazillion different projects and not know what to work on because your mood changes too quickly. You're going to get nothing done, and you're likely not going to feel very good about it.

So stand up, writers! It's our turn to strike inspiration.

Do you tend to write only when you're inspired? What are some ways you overcome a lack of inspiration?

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  1. Sometimes (well, most of the time) I feel like I only hit those BIG moments of inspiration a couple times a year? Other times there may be sparks, but...I've had to learn how to strike inspiration, as you said! Inspiration is a finicky thing, really. Is my writing perfect when I write without it? Noooo not at all. XD But eventually you have to get the words down, right?

    I love how your wrote this post! It all flows so beautifully, and your brilliant writing skills are obvious in that. ;) Great post! <3

    1. *sigh* Why do I always notice typos right after I click "publish"? I swear, it's a conspiracy. XD So, please forgive me for those.

    2. SAME. It's so rare that I get struck out of the blue by a great, huge idea. And usually when I do, it's for a whole story idea rather than the solution to problems I need to solve XP And so true! We have to get those words down XP

      AWWW YOU'RE SO SWEET <3 *hugs* Thank you!!!


  3. I definitely had this problem last night when I sat down to write. But you're right, striking back and powering through are ways to get past it. Forcing yourself to put something on the page or answering those back-story questions about a character can spark an idea. Thanks for the encouragement! :)

    1. Yasss! Get those words down! *high fives*

  4. As a pantser, I generally have a vague idea of a few things I want to happen, and no plot, so when times get hard I switch WIPs. (Not a good method.) But one thing I do is 'write through' plot problems - that's how I tend to figure out what should happen. "Anna is at Brenda's house, but she needs to be on her trip at this point because she needs to meet Cassie. But it doesn't make sense that she'd leave at this point. So maybe I can..."

    Also, Pinterest is obviously the most productive way of getting inspiration...? xD

    I will definitely keep this post in mind when inspiration is refusing to strike!
    Jem Jones

    1. Ahhhh yesssss! I do that a lot too! My early drafts are FULL of "author interruptions" as I sort out what's happening in the story at the moment and where I need to be. And ahaaaa yessssss PINTEREST. SO HELPFUL XP

  5. Thanks for this post!! Because I write at the same time every day (and have been doing so for three+ years), I tend to write even when I don't have "inspiration." It definitely can be done, though it often doesn't make for the /best/ of writing. But it helps be get through the story sooner....and we can always fix things up in editing!

    1. Ahhh that's amazing! And a really good idea! I try to do that, but ... *sheepish grin* Just being the way I am, I don't do well with schedules. I'm working on that lately though. And yes, keeping in mind that there are always edits is so important! <3

  6. So I never actually sit down to write on my laptop UNLESS I know what I want to say. πŸ˜‚ I do most of my writing like that in my head! So I totally get low on inspiration and end up pulling out hair and eating a brick wall, but I don't like hammer it out in words?? I think it out.πŸ˜‚It's still uber painful hahah. And I 100% agree you can't just wait for inspiration to take it's sweet time. I like set aside time specifically for thinking through my plot holes. GET IT DONE, MAKE IT A PRIORITY. :') Totally loved the post!! :D

  7. These types of post always get me writing!


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