Fresh off a busy August/September – chock-filled with a delightful internship, a landmark birthday, a huge pile of final trimester assignments to research and write including an especially difficult creative nonfiction piece – here I am, back and gearing into action to write my 10th blog post.
I know people usually prepare something like their 100th blog post in glorious Technicolor for all the world to see (well, probably not, but you get the picture) but here I am, glad to see Gut Instinct is going well after just over a year after I beat the twin evils of writer’s block and procrastination to create it.
So, onto the topic of the month: what make a writer tick?
No, this is not Yet Another Blog Post on Writer’s Block, because I wrote about that in July, and that blank Word document is slightly less the enemy than it used to be.
No. What actually makes you want to write?
What inspires you?
Is the sound of your neighbour mowing their lawn, mixed with the calming sounds of Mahler or Yiruma stirring you into contemplative action? Do the wub-wubs of dubsteptechnopop force you to your laptop and start writing a 65,000 word action thriller during NaNoWriMo? Everyone’s different, but one thing is certain.
Even if you don’t know exactly what makes you inspired, learning so will help you become a better writer.
Is it just a spur of the moment thing, when your best friend Debbie comes over with her three-year-old son, and suddenly you think, ‘Danny may be howling right now, but this is exactly how I should start Revenge of the Red Cordial Toddler Attackers’?
Turns out you don’t act on Danny’s toddler tantrum by writing ROTCTA, but at least you’re inspired.
Just please, please don’t leave those ideas languishing in a cupboard for twenty years until they go mouldy, or you’ve hidden that great idea from 2003 on a floppy disk, and realise most computers don’t have floppy disk slots anymore.
Don’t just think your mood to write will disappear when Danny leaves the house, though. Quickly get the ideas down on paper or in a notepad app on your phone, so you can check those ideas over later to see if they’re still good.
Even if you don’t know what inspires you, please don’t just ignore writing if that’s what you really love.
Please don’t leave your masterpiece languishing in that cupboard for two decades. It’s such a cliché, after all.
Instead of lounging around watching Saturday night movies while kids/annoying younger brother/everyone is asleep or busy, please do what inspires you to write. Call it your pre-writer’s ritual.
PWR is important.
It breaks that writer’s block I mentioned last time – as if writer’s block needs to be mentioned yet again – plus it gets you in the mood to write.
And not just writing; if you’ve accidentally stumbled upon my blog and you’re not a writer (Welcome!), you can paint a portrait of Mr Buzz and Fluffy before they pass away and you don’t get the chance. Start your own blog. Stop procrastinating. Maybe your PWR consists of watching Bold and the Beautiful reruns, or David Attenborough’s specials on Tanzanian meerkat phoenix bears. If so, disregard what I said about using TV as an excuse to lounge (or hours on the internet, or a quick nap). Unless you’re lying to me and pretending you watch TV to be inspired. In that case… pfft, nobody on the internet lies!
I’ll end this post by saying what I’ve already stated; if you know what inspires you, or what makes you happy (like eating six kilos of chocolate), then you’re on your way to being more inspired, more often.
Or you can just force yourself to write without inspiration.
“Ehh, too hard,” the faux-you says. “I’ll go sit and watch Dexter for a few hours. Oh, crap Debra just… Wow, that just made me think of how the Red Cordial Monster reacts when he accidentally drinks soda water and starts to deflate and…”
And thus you start writing. At least I hope so. Good luck!