Monday, December 7

"Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working." Pablo Picasso

Except for the blog I haven’t written much for the last three days. I spent an evening updating the map for my novel so a friend with artistic ability can continue her project helping me out, spent today working on my TJ so it continues to run, and spent a day volunteering down at the climbing gym with 8-year olds in exchange for a bit of free climbing time.

All worthy endeavors and I don’t feel a bit of guilt, but it doesn’t change the fact that the novel isn’t going to write itself. Today I’m back on mission.

Some great writer, it may have been Stephen King (yes, I consider him ‘great’ – maybe not always, but taken as a whole, and for "On Writing" alone if need be…), said that the difference between a good writer and a successful writer is that the ‘successful one put’s his or her ass in the chair’. Every writer has their own ritual or system for getting the words out, but there is a system, some commitment to discipline that puts them, ass in seat and hands on keyboard 9or pen, or pencil, or microphone) to do the writing.

That sense of self-discipline (or lack thereof) is one of the things that I’ve had to deal with over the last seven months. I have my excuses, ones that are fairly typical for writers: fear of failure, fear of rejection, deep and abiding commitment to procrastination, yada yada… 

I call them excuses instead of reasons because I believe that once we know about a dynamic of some weakness, it stops being a reason and starts being an excuse. If we know about it, we can start to correct it, change it, and make the choices that will eliminate it. If we don’t make those choices, using a flaw or neurosis to explain not doing something just becomes an excuse.
I think I’m mostly over the excuses now. 

The writing discipline has become a good habit now more than not, and when I miss more than a day or two, I really miss it, like an ache in my bones. The blog has helped in the way a hobby can, but it’s no replacement. More like a supplement in place of a meal – it leaves me healthy but still hungry.

So tomorrow I’m placing my ass eagerly back in the chair. When inspiration comes knocking, I’ll be in the right place at the right time. I have a world and characters waiting for me, and I find that I care about them quite a bit. 

What’s your mission? What are you doing, or what should you be doing, so that inspiration can come knocking and get a warm welcome?