Saturday, August 4, 2012

The [Un] Importance of Inspiration

My laptop's not turning on.

Unfortunately, it's not turning off either.

I have fifty minutes left to write, and my ancient machine is having a crisis of identity. Should I be a laptop? Should I be a large black rectangle rock-thing?

In the meantime, it's whirring and crackling, showing a light blue screen, and ignoring my desperate punches at its power button.

Rather like me, lately.

On July 11th (the day after my last post), I flew halfway across the country. I went from my new home to my old home. I went from my family to my friends. Oh, and a job.

Perhaps that's some explanation for my sudden and of yet unrecovered loss of a coherent schedule. My school's fallen, my blog's fallen, my writing's fallen.

The longer I don't edit, the harder it is to see where my novel needs to go. The longer I don't blog, the harder it is to think of anything to blog about. The longer I have a messed-up sleeping schedule, the longer I go without accomplishing what I would like to accomplish every day.

This has put me into a horrible cycle I'm already way to familiar with. Don't accomplish things, so I get depressed, so I don't accomplish things, so I get depressed, so I don't accomplish things...

I have stuff to do. Big stuff; important stuff. Changing the world. Living for Christ. Loving. Writing. But I get so bogged down by failures that I just fail more. It is very illogical. Which irks me.

What does any of this have to do with inspiration?

Well, I like the jolts of brilliance as much as the next writer. The beautiful sentences that just pop into your head and roll out across the paper...the wonderful scenes...the fascinating character...the sense of I can do anything!!!

But writers cannot live on inspiration alone. And actually, if they try to, the inspiration will eventually run out.

Why do I say such horrible depressing things?

Most of us know of sayings like this:

But what people normally don't tell you is that that work--that perspiration--actually creates the inspiration in most, if not all, circumstances.

Remember those cycles above? I don't blog, so I don't know what to blog. I don't edit, so I don't know how to edit. I don't get up early, so I don't go to bed in time. The cycles of defeat.

But if you work on your novel, or your blog, and you push through when it isn't fun, you are going to get a bit of help from inspiration. The inspiration isn't the important part: the work that leads to it is. You can get into the good cycle of working on your novel, so get inspiration for your novel, so work on your novel...

Of course, it's not exactly that simple. Sometimes you'll still get burned out and run out of ideas and need breaks and new books and rants to friends. And it's harder to stay in the good cycle than it is to fall into the bad cycle.

But think about it. Inspiration is always, always worth the perspiration.

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