Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Waiting For Inspiration

I’ve gotten lax in writing out blog entries. I’m trying to stay ahead of the curve now, so I don’t fall behind again and make my readers think that I may have fallen off the edge of the earth.

I was talking with my oldest brother recently, and he was suggesting I write a stand alone book that could be given away when it is edited and ready for the public eye. I responded by telling him I had an idea for one, but I was stuck. I was waiting for inspiration. My loving eldest brother responded in typical big brother fashion. “You don’t wait for inspiration to strike to edit your novels. You just do it. So write another one.”

I tried to explain to him, without success, that writing a new story without inspiration is a tad difficult. If you have the basics in place, yes, you can fake it for a while until you figure out a direction. But when all you have is a plot, no main characters, no motive for the villain, and no fix for the horrible plot problem, you cannot write a story from that.

I’ve heard other writers refer to their inspiration as their muse. I don’t subscribe to that idea, but I appreciate the image. I would love to receive the rest of the pieces to my incomplete plot to write out the half story I have burning in the back of my head. But, due to the other projects going on right now, I think that likely won’t fall into place for me until November. Despite my desire, I will likely miss the other Camp NaNo. Having no story is a big issue.

As writers, we are all the time waiting for inspiration. And until that one thing happens that makes our writer brains go “what if,” we’re stuck in neutral. Now, there is something to be said for having “butt in chair” time to make yourself do something related to your work. But there comes a point and time where your inspiration refuses to strike. You still have the same questions that you had the day before.

During writer’s block, there is a certain amount of “just do it” that forces you around your story obstacle. But when you’ve reached an impasse before the story is actually on paper, that is a different problem entirely.

My suggestion to any writer in a situation similar to mine is to take a break. Place your story questions somewhere that it is easily accessible, then forget about it. Go on with your life, and try to forget the fact that you’re waiting for inspiration.

Sometimes, we have to walk away in order for our inner writer decides to connect the unseen dots.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to take my own advice.


  1. The best thing I can ever do when I hit a wall is to walk away. Leave the screen, close down the word program, do something else. Because even when we walk away our brains are still turning. Sometimes a five minute break gives me the inspiration, other times I need to shift gears completely and return at a much later date.

    Bottom line, you can't force it. I can push myself along, feeling like I'm spitting out crap, but ultimately I need to walk away to revisit the section with freash eyes to clean up the crap.

    The start up is the worst. My characters take forever to take form in my head. I feel your pain and wish you luck in fleshing out your stand alone story idea!

    1. Yes, sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away.

      This is the first time where I've had a plot but no characters. It's so strange!

      Thanks for reading!