Putting One Word After Another: The Magic Of Writing

“If you only write when you’re inspired you may be a fairly decent poet, but you’ll never be a novelist because you’re going to have to make your word count today and those words aren’t going to wait for you whether you’re inspired or not.
You have to write when you’re not inspired. And you have to write the scenes that don’t inspire you. And the weird thing is that six months later, a year later, you’ll look back at them and you can’t remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you just wrote because they had to be written next.
The process of writing can be magical. …Mostly it’s a process of putting one word after another.”

Neil Gaiman

I think there could be a chance that most of us creators wander the earth in hope of being struck by the most wonderful inspiration. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen like that  – although you may get an idea. This is what inspiration really is to me, an idea. This idea cannot be fully formed in one single moment like most people think.It needs to be developed, stretched, trimmed and molded into something that makes sense or not, depending on your school of thought.

I spent many years waiting for this great moment only to find that it never really existed and the truth of the matter is if I had just waited I would never have written anything at all. I have a romantic notion about seeing an event or being told something terribly important and that sparks an idea, a novel, a Hollywood blockbuster…but it never happens. What does happen is a tiny seed is planted in my mind, consciously or subconsciously and during its infancy it makes me write notes, do research, seek new places to visit and collect images. Then it grows bit by bit until it is a full-grown flower that blooms. That seed won’t just fly through the air and land on you, sometimes you have to call it to you and that is by sitting down and writing. You can start with notes, you could read lots of books of the same genre you wish to write in, you never know when that seed is ready to be planted but you have to help it along. I think we can probably match this to the “I wish I could win the lottery” grumble only to find out that this moany person never plays the lottery. If you don’t put the wheels in motion you will never know where your creative adventure will take you.

On occasion I have written parts of a story only to come across a new possibility. My character has done something that could change the whole course of the tale – it is a brilliant feeling, at that point I don’t want to leave my desk. Without making myself sit and do the work – that amazing change would never have happened. I don’t want to labour the point here but you need to sit down and write and write and write. If you write something you believe is just rubbish, keep it, it may be useful at some point. Even if you write one paragraph at least you know you have written something.

Never give up on it, no matter what. If your life’s work is to be a writer then you know what to do…write.

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