Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
– Louis L’Amour
True story. That quote may be the only thing I’ve ever read written by Louis L’Amour.
But I read Lonesome Dove. That’s kind of the same thing, right?
Still, the sentiment is true. Every writer, artist, composer will likely tell you the same thing.
You can’t wait to be inspired.
Sometimes inspiration is just parking your behind in the chair and starting to type. Let’s be frank, if you’ve read here even on an occasional basis, you’ve come across a post or two that’s a pretty random jumble of thoughts that may or may not be connected.
It boils down to this: Inspiration is work.
If I waited until I felt like doing something, I’d be back to that image of sitting on the couch streaming Netflix and eating bon bons.
Assuming someone would bring me the bon bons.
If I waited for inspiration, I would never write the first word.
If I waited for inspiration, I would never get to the gym.
If I waited for inspiration, I would never head to that audition.
If I waited for inspiration, I would never touch that canvas.
Inspiration looks a lot like work.
Margaret Mitchell didn’t sit down and type out Gone with the Wind in an afternoon. It took her years.
Lin Manuel Miranda didn’t sit down at a keyboard after the evening news and pound out the score and lyrics to Hamilton.
Michael Wolfe didn’t sit down at his keyboard and type out a questionable and sensationalistic book about the President just to boost his Amazon sales.
You get the point.
Now, let me be clear. There are things that inspire me.
I am inspired by nature, mostly the ocean, but I can dig a mountain or river or two.
I am inspired by the writings of others.
I am inspired by theater and sometimes by film.
I am inspired by music, some more than others.
In my home office, I surround myself with things that inspire me. My walls are full of programs and pictures from events in my life. Accomplishments and inspirational quotes, and things I just love. There are quite a few lions.
On my desk as I write this, I’ve not put away Christmas. Don’t snark, the season just ended on Saturday with Epiphany. But to my right are my aunt’s Christmas tree that holds a special place in my heart, a small stuffed Abominable from Rudolph, a smaller Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and a figurine of the Nativity to remember what it’s all about. Behind me are books and pens and office supplies. We won’t talk about the current status of the closet that looks like a Goodwill truck exploded, that’s not the point.
These things all inspire me. Sometimes they give me ideas for writing, or art projects, or other things.
Sometimes they’re simply a source of comfort.
More often than not, I sit down at the keyboard and wonder what I’ll be writing about for the day.
On the days when I have my act together (it happens), one of my first tasks, after the devotional reading (see yesterday), is to sit and write 1,000 words, at least.
True story. I started the project as a means to building the writing career. The working title remains “How I Wrote My Ass Out of Hell.” Things have changed since I started it and I’m more at peace with the day job. Don’t get me wrong, I still want out. That’s another true story.
The writing of 1,000 words is a discipline. In a sense it’s journaling. Some days it’s griping about what is going on or not going on. Some days it’s actually good writing.
Every day it’s work, and it’s writing, with or without inspiration.
Inspiration isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a wonderful thing.
But, if you’re waiting for inspiration, or Godot, you’re likely going to be disappointed.
In 2018, I’m willing myself to Get Things Done whether I feel like it or not.
That’s pretty darned inspirational.