Chasing Inspiration

Monday, September 19, 2011

Going After It with a Club

 I was thinking about the quotation at the top of my blog today. Jack London was a smart man. Right up there with Nora Roberts.

In an interview for Borders bookstores, Nora was quoted as saying there isn't a muse, that a writer can't sit and wait for the muse to be channeled. Writing isn't effortless. My personal experience certainly mirrors this sentiment. The days where I have waited for the muse to come knocking are the days nothing gets added to the page. Those are the days I find excuses to clean the oven, fiddle with the mending, reconcile the cheque book. Those are the days I do anything but get down to the business of writing.

Jack London said you can't wait for inspiration. I don't know if he meant those flashes of the perfect scene or the vibrant and oh so right setting. I don't know if he meant that niggle at the base of your skull when something you see, hear or smell triggers an emotion or moment in the plot. I imagine he doesn't mean those serendipitous moments that come to us all. What I imagine he means is that we can't wait for that lightening bold that says, "Here I am! This is what you are to write next. And it will be brilliant!"

Writing is hard work. All creativity is work. Joyous, torturous, wonderful work. But work nonetheless.At least it is for me. I won't be so arrogant as to speak for anyone else.

I love writing. I love birthing a story, nurturing it from a small, embryonic idea to a full blown plot with character arcs, story arcs, subplots, twists, turns and resolutions. That seed of an idea becomes a child and then a gangly adolescent, more mature, filling out but also awkward and full of grease. Finally, after what feels like years, the story becomes an adult and able to move out of the house to flourish or fall all on its own. This all takes work. A story, no matter how it may flow from the soul, is not born miraculously in complete and final form.

Ideas don't either. And if I were to sit and wait for that perfect idea I would always remain an untried, unpublished and ineffective writer. I would aspire, but never achieve.

Jill Barnett once stated that some of her books were born out of a desire to learn something about the craft of writing. She learned her craft by experience. Not by waiting for inspiration. Like Jack, Nora and Jill, I don't want to wait for fickle Lady Muse. I want to write. I want to refine my craft and bare open my soul. I want to go after inspiration with a club!

1 comment:

  1. Oh that is good. I have been thinking similarly. I feel like working has pulled my inspiration from me but i have been wondering if I really just need to learn to hone the craft, to write out of knowledge as much as inspiration. Just make it happen. good stuff.