Taming the Inspiration Monster

Inspiration is a strange, elusive beast that lurks in the shadows, seductive and just out of reach.  It usually rears its head when I’m least prepared for it, leaping forward and grabbing me by the neck and screaming, “WRITE THIS!”  If I’m very, very lucky, inspiration comes out when I’m actually looking for it, when I’m ready to start something new or brainstorming ideas for my current manuscript.  But it’s more likely to sneak up on me when I’m not looking at all, when I’m working my way through a draft or trying to hit a deadline.  Sometimes the inspiration reinvigorates my work and helps me power through.  But in addition to being remote, inspiration is fickle: it can whisper dark character secrets that mandate a wholesale rewrite or dangle shiny new ideas that become all-consuming distractions.  

I’ve tried ignoring the inspiration monster.  I’ve kept my head down and squeezed words into my   manuscript, trying to remember that I’d once been every bit as enthusiastic about it as I am about the new whispers.  But inspiration doesn’t like to be ignored, and the more I pretend that I’m not listening to it, the more aggressive the monster becomes, burrowing into my brain and multiplying until I finally have to give in and act.

And when I do, I’m never sorry. Because no matter how reckless or dangerous a path inspiration leads you down, the journey is always special.  

Inspiration is the seed of an idea that may or may not become the next project, or the thread of a breakthrough or a day when my fingers fly across the keyboard, barely able to keep up with the story as it pours out.  When inspiration strikes, I’m reminded of why I do this, why I can’t not do this. 
Art that inspired an entire subplot in my manuscript

I can’t predict when inspiration will strike.  I can’t force it.  But when it happens, I indulge it, doing my best to pin down the buzz of characters and words until they slip through my fingers.  It’s only after inspiration has faded back into the darkness that I stop and evaluate whether it’s left anything in its wake that might someday make a story.

And then I get back to work, watching the word count and waiting for the next fleeting moment of inspiration.  So I can indulge it all over again.    


It's often the same for me, Talia! And as for your inspiration, I love reading the results!

Yes, when inspiration is around, the journey is always special. Thanks, Talia.

Yes, when inspiration is around, the journey is always special. Thanks, Talia.

Yes- inspiration always strikes at the most inconvenient times, either when I'm in the middle of another project, or when I don't have access to pen and paper! And it can definitely be a persistent little beast, and hard to ignore! You put it so brilliantly - it's the wonderful feeling of being inspired that makes writing so magical!

Thanks Beth, Robin and Emma. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with inspiration. It's so darn addictive, but impossible to control.

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