Or do you write and rewrite and edit all the time and strive to uncover the ideas hidden on the page? The first approach seems easy, but is good writing really effortless?
It depends on what you have to write. If it’s a poem, short story, or blog post, it’s easier to wait for inspiration. When the writing mood strikes you – whether it’s triggered by a creative flash, a line you read in some book, or something you see or do – you can rush to your desk and write as fast as possible, and you can finish before the magic fades, before the creative mood has left you.
But when it comes to writing longer works, like novellas or novels, can you really wait for inspiration? Inspiration is capricious, like a lovely lady who comes and goes as she pleases, who has moods, tantrums, and who, though you may love her with all your heart, you cannot marry because she will not have you. She comes only when better hosts are not available, which is usually not too often. (Do not blame her, it is her nature.)
You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
— Jack London
Following my friend Jack’s advice, I try to write every day and find the inspiration on the page. It seems to me that the best ideas are the the product of the alchemy of the pen and paper – they come as I write.
Forcing yourself to write every day – even when you don’t feel like it – is a challenge. It certainly is for me. But in time you get used to it, and writing becomes a habit. When that happens you become less dependent on the whimsy Lady Inspiration.
Oh, she will come, don’t you worry, but only when she pleases.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
– Agatha Christie
Do You Wait For Inspiration Before You Start Writing?