A common question most writers get to answer is: what inspires you? This usually comes from fascinated readers of your work who, perhaps while they read your work, wondered what could have inspired you to write in such manner. Yes, I get the fact that we are inspired by many things in so many ways but do you have to be inspired before you write?
When I first started writing, I would usually wait to be inspired and when I’m not, in a long time, it is termed a writer’s block- every writer’s dreaded moment. I would often talk about being inspired by nature, serenity, and whatnots. It didn’t take so long before it hit me that it is not always about getting inspired or waiting for a strong muse to hit you before you put your pen to the paper.
Here is what happened…
I got a job as a Freelance Writer, and for someone who waits to be inspired or motivated to write, I wondered how I was going to catch up with writing a specific number of articles in a day, week, month! Whether I was inspired or not was none of my employer’s business, I just needed to hasten up and be done with what was required of me at the set time. My whole life and short writing career played before my eyes because this was going to be a challenge I had no choice but to take on.
With time, I began to catch up and get used to it. From struggling to write one article a day to two and then four, and to actually deciding how much I intend to write a day. Where did the inspiration go to? Well, still there, but there’s a different tactic.
The truth about waiting to be inspired is that you limit yourself to wavering conditions and subject yourself to things that you can control.
Many great writers today write consistently until they hit their goal or complete their first draft. A perfect example is Stephen Kings who commits himself to 2000 words every single day, come rain, come sunshine. Do you think he gets inspired every day? Or perhaps, he waits for a trigger to give him a “yes, you can write chapter 3 now”? Certainly not.
Working as a Freelance Writer for about three years now has taught me that I don’t have to wait to be inspired by something to write. What if I don’t? Would that mean a delay in a client’s work or me not actually getting any work done in a whole week or month because the strong muse has refused to surface? So, I moved from “I don’t have the muse yet” to “work done! Next, please?”.
How Do You Gain Control Over Your Inspiration?
Imagine yourself in a serious writing contest where you have made it to the final stage. Tell me, will you wait to be inspired by something before you kick off with whatever it is that you have to write? Best believe you won’t and you will still come up with a masterpiece. This only shows that you have a greater power over your muse than the other way round.
1. Have a schedule
The reason why you excuse yourself with the inspiration banter is simply that you have too much time on your hands and you don’t have a goal to meet. By creating a schedule to write, you give yourself a time-frame and target to work with.
Set a smart schedule and don’t just come up with a plan like “I will write 3 articles this week”. That’s quite tricky because you will likely find yourself sitting in front of your computer or your notepad on Friday evening and you are yet to complete the first paragraph of the first article. And when you are asked what the issue is, you’d most likely excuse yourself with the lack of inspiration.
Here’s an example of how I’d rather plan mine:
- Complete a health article on XYZ blog on Monday morning before going to work
- Write a 1000-word article on XYZ brand from 4 am on Wednesday
- Write A and B short articles for XYZ before 6 pm on Friday
- Other days for impromptu and random tasks
With a plan like this, you know what you are waking up to do on a particular day and the goal you must have met by the end of the day. By the end of the week, you would certainly hit your goal, rather than waiting for an inspiration that may never come.
You can also, like Stephen Kings, do the daily word limit. This may be your best option if you are writing a book.
Without a plan, you will get very little to nothing done. Even if you get the most done, you won’t be able to track your progress or how productive you are because you never had a plan anyway.
2. Just write!
It’s quite easy to talk and plan about writing and actually not writing!
Make all the plans you want, nothing will happen if you don’t get to work. A writer is someone who writes, not someone who thinks about writing or plans to write.
Just start something and watch it flow. It might not be easy at first, especially if you are used to writing only when you feel like it. But with time, you will gradually get used to the new style. Just write. Pull out your notepad and start something. If it’s a work that requires some research, get on with it and gather your information.
3. Don’t procrastinate
Well, it is what it is. Try not to succumb. Just do what you have to and move on to the next. Trust me, it will help your career.
Should You Totally Neglect Inspiration?
Getting inspired to write still has its place, but my point here is that you can always control it. Even while you do, there are days when you won’t feel like it. It’s normal; we all have our down moments and days when we want to do absolutely nothing. But then, if there’s a goal to meet and something at stake, we still have to get up and do it.
In that case, you may want to look for inspiration. Remember that you are still in control of the inspiration? Yes, that is why you have to look for it. There are different ways to do this:
- Surf the internet on something related to what you are about to write. This will open your mind and push you to at least write a line.
- Listen to a soft music or any music that suits your style. It will help you relax and prepare your mind to work.
- Take a nap. You may want to reboot and start afresh, and a nap is sure a great way to do that. Studies have also shown that it helps boost creativity for writers.
- Play around, dance or do any fun thing just to distract your mind from other troubling things, so you can settle down to work.
There are many other ways you can find your inspiration. Figure it out when you do need it and get to work. Just do it!
How do you find the inspiration to write and what inspires you to write? Share in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to not miss a post.