Waiting for Inspiration

So far so good. The plot lines are all there in some way or another, the characters are doing their thing and slowly but surely are all moving towards a common finale which may or may not be clearly mapped out but at least exists as a concept.

Then, inevitably for most, you either fall off a cliff or get stuck in a morass, quickly or slowly bringing the writing to a halt. I have found that whilst having a start and a finish is one thing, taking the journey from A to Z with myriad pit stops along the way can be either a joy or a torture. Your character finds themselves figuratively at least or maybe literally at a crossroads and you have no idea where you are taking them from there.

I, like many others, sat back and waited for inspiration. Something would come up to push me on. A sign, maybe a news report or magazine article, possibly a chance meeting would give me a clue as to the direction to take. As soon as I started pushing for that inspirational moment absolutely nothing happened. Nothing at all, my character stayed at the crossroads, twiddling their thumbs waiting for me to get a grip.

And that is the problem with inspiration, it exists, I have experienced it and gathered some great ideas, but not when I want it. Trying to force inspiration is like pointing a camera at a particular piece of clear sky, on a warm and sunny day, expecting to get that great shot of a lightning strike, any minute now!

Then I found some great advice, attributed to Stephen King:

Amateur writers sit back and wait for inspiration, professional writers just get on with it and write’

That simple line got me out of the hole I had found myself. I sat down looking at the point where I had come to a halt, and my character took a step, and another and before long found themselves well passed the crossroads.

Without realising it straight away this suited my writing style, which is to pound away on the keys until I ran out of ideas. Get up and have a break, a cup of coffee maybe. Then go back read what I have written, maybe a couple of edits, pick up the story and carry on.

The Picture stayed in a hole for over three months while I waited for inspiration, once I just got on with it and wrote I had it finished in two weeks.

More importantly I went from torturing myself at my failure to progress the story to thoroughly enjoying the process and if you are not having fun then what is the point?

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