Waiting for inspiration to strike.
Poets tell me that they struggle with inspiration. Waiting for it to strike, they avoid writing, because they have to have the inspiration to write.
To that, I could respond: Surround yourself with things that might inspire you Have them available For when you'll want some help getting started. Keep it available and easy. Uncomplicated. Support, not another obstacle.
But you've probably heard that before.
Consider the following: In reality, inspiration is a part of a much bigger and mysterious realm, if we want to come in contact with that realm, let's admit not knowing, ok?
I am talking about a cosmic, big, crazy, scary kind of not knowing.
Allow me to connect the dots:
Don't wait for inspiration to strike, because if you'll wait, you will rarely write. You: What?! Me: Yes. What I'm saying might be counter-intuitive, or counter to what you have thought and heard about inspirations and creators.
So, let's tread lightly. What I am about to tell you, is about not having control. That is NOT something that we are comfortable with. No one is… not in our western culture at least.
Let me say it again: Don't wait for inspiration to strike, because if you wait you will rarely write.
To write, you have to have a pen or a keyboard, you don't have to have inspiration.
You don't have a lack of inspiration, no more or less than anyone else.
You will have some inspiration, when it comes to you.
You might want to ask me: How do you suggest I write, and what am I supposed to write, if I am not inspired? How the heck will I get myself writing without inspiration?
And this is my response: It is not inspirations job to come to you when you need it. It is YOUR job to show inspiration that you are available often enough, semi-regularly, in order for her to show up sometimes.
You show up, and you write something. Anything.
Accept the fact that on many occasions, you will not even be sure if inspiration was with you or not, until much later, when you read what you wrote and think: “Wow, I wrote that?! That is GOOD!”
Accept that in reality, those moments of meeting inspiration right when you thought you needed it, in the way you thought you needed it - that is extremely rare.
We trust our thoughts and believes about how things should be, we trust them way too much. We are often wrong.
As I said, in reality, inspiration is a part of a much bigger and mysterious realm then our thoughts. if we want to come in contact with that realm, let's admit not knowing.
Our thoughts think that they know What is true and what we need. We are often wrong. We don't know. We can allow this not knowing To relieve us. Just a cosmic, big, crazy, scary kind of not knowing.
As you write, go for a Quantity over Quality approach. (See the book Art&Fear by David Bayles, Ted Orland)
I'll tell you about my writing process as an example: I write without knowing. Without knowing what or why I am about to write down. Without knowing if it will be good or stupid, right or wrong, if people will like it or not. If I will like it or not. It does not matter. I simply do it, no drama, no expectations. As often as I manage, a few lines for 10 minutes almost every evening, after a long tiring day. Some of the poems turn out amazing, and many of them turn out boring and pointless. I never share pointless ones with anyone. I simply share the good ones,
THE GOOD ONES NEVER COULD HAVE COME TO ME WITHOUT THE BORING ONES.
I can never know in advance where it is all going, and which will turn out good.
I simply make it habitual, I suggest you try that. Something in you will start to look forward to writing time, and inspiration will learn where and when to find you. Sometimes she will show up, other times, she won't.
Think “out of the box”, to help inspiration come. For example, Liz Gilbert says: Don't let writing become this thing that you are supposed to do, etc. She compares the relationship Between a human and writing, to one of two lovers, forbidden love at that. Those two can't wait to get away from everything and everyone, and be with each other, even if they will have only 10 minutes together.
Think about your writing like that, feel about your writing like that!
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Please read more about this way of thinking, learn about it, and make it your own. You can start with Liz Gilbert: Her book (and audiobook, highly recommended): “Big Magic”, and she talks more about it on her TED Talks: Your elusive creative genius. Success, failure and the drive to keep creating.