This week I wrote about inspiration for my weekly column and wanted to stay with that theme here as well.
Inspiration sits at the foundation of our writing and it rises and falls as we follow the path along which our writing takes us. Sometimes though, or maybe I should say very often, inspiration seems to have a mind of her own and we become slaves to her whims and fancies.
In order to explore every nook and cranny and mountain and valley of our writing, we must learn to write between the sparks of inspiration.
When inspiration dances into our days, with her handful of delicacies, we must be quick to grab hold of her, dance along and sample her inspiring fare. Our daily commitments may not allow us to sit long with inspiration, move in sync with her rhythm and eat from her tempting menu. So we must be prepared to chip along for the brief moment we have, sniff the aromas and pinch a taste or two of her dishes without missing a beat of the rhythm of our day.
Then, there are times when we have the time or schedule time to write and inspiration does not come dancing and serving up her juicy goodies.
The place between inspiration’s appearances - between one jubilant spark and another - is where we discover our true writing mettle. It is there we learn to dig for treasure in our own backyards, as it were.
These are two popular methods of lighting a fire under our writing when inspiration doesn’t come calling.
Use prompts. They are short pieces designed to give us a creative jolt. Not every prompt will hit your bulls-eye. Keep searching until you find one with a sharp point that lands on target and you’re off.
Use timed writing. You don’t have to depend on someone else’s prompts. Set a timer for a short time, say 10, 20, no more than 30 minutes. Then write whatever comes to your mind. Treat it like toxic material - get it out of your head, fast. If it makes sense in the end, fix it and use it. If you write gibberish, as you surely will sometimes, don’t throw it away just yet. Shuffle through for any potential properties to explore. You may choose to keep all your timed gibberish in a folder. If that’s your fancy then do it.
How do you write between the sparks of inspiration?