Sunday, August 7, 2011

Inspiration (?!)

Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time…The wait is simply too long.
-Leonard Bernstein

Ah, that age-old problem. Inspiration. Or lack thereof. I recently read an interview (or maybe saw it in a video) with Neil Gaiman who said something to the effect of that a writer has to make their word count whether they are inspired or not. You can’t sit around waiting to be inspired. And I know that. Intellectually, logically… I know that. But somehow, I can't make myself sit down and start writing when I don’t feel like I have anything to say. I don't have discipline.

The first draft of the first book I wrote was during Nanowrimo and I realized the absolute brilliance of that project. You have to write 50,000 words in a month, no matter what. Chances are the draft is probably crap. And it was. But I took that draft over the next year and made it into something I really liked. The next time Nanowrimo came around, I was a little over-confident in my abilities to reach 50,000 words. I was too lax, got too far behind and couldn’t catch up. I’ve been trying to tell myself ever since that "this is the month! I’m going to do my own Nanowrimo this month and bang out 50,000 words on the second book no matter how crappy it is. At least I’ll have a draft from which to work."

As Dr. Phil would say, "How’s that workin’ for ya?" Yeah… not so good.

So, for now I’m going to tell myself that I need to write at least 1,000 words each day. No matter what. I know I should aim higher. But, I know myself. If I aim too high, I’ll get overwhelmed and not do it. 1,000 words a day is better than nothin’. And if I reach that 1,000 and I’m on a roll, there’s nothing stopping me from reaching 2,000!

What about you other writer folks out there? How do you make yourself do it when there is no inspiration or motivation hovering over you?

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