Inspiration

Hello again readers and writers.

The writing has been going pretty well. I had a few days setback, completely of my own fault for not paying enough time to my writing each day.

Something I have major trouble with is consistency. I have issues getting up at that same time every day, and putting in the effort. After missing that time, whether it be dedicated to writing, working out, or even just waking up, when I miss I come up with bad excuses not to do it for the rest of the day. Now, I could just blame it on my “different” style, trying to pass it off as a good thing, or at least a product of my uniqueness… but that would be disingenuous. The fact is, I need consistency. Writers in general need consistency in order to work as they are meant to work, in order to glean as much creativity out of their fingers as they possibly can.

The reason I mention this is because a guest writer from Britain, playwright, journalist, and novelist Alan Smith, visited our screenwriting class recently. He wrote the novel Big Soft Lads (good luck googling that title, it brings up a lot of… things). He was there to talk to us all about being writers, and what that means. His first words on the subject struck me right in the face.

“Creativity doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing.”

I wanted to stop him and disagree. Sure it does! Creativity truly is a real thing. It’s what puts these ideas into our heads, is it not? These stories that we can’t get rid of, the tales that echo inside us until we tell them! But I stopped myself, because after all he is a guest speaker, and having an argument with a guest speaker – especially one with a British accent – is probably not the most polite response.

But then he explained. “These people that make excuses for not writing the story they want to do– ‘oh, I’m very creative, I’m sensitive, I have to be in the right mood, I don’t have the right pencil.’ All excuses. Writing is work. Proper work. All there is to it is sitting down and doing it every day. If you’re not willing to write every day, like I don’t, you probably don’t want to be a writer.”

Of course, what he’s talking about is creative inspiration. The constant conundrum of relying on talent instead of hard work and determination. After that, I understood what he was saying. And of course, as a writer, I’ve heard it all before. Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. It’s all TRUE. What made this man so special? For one, he was older. He had been a journalist for a huge part of his life, and by his own account, had always been one of those people who looks at novels and movies and plays, and says: “I could do that.” But he never did until this past decade. He finally decided to put the work in– ideas and inspiration were worthless until he was willing to sit down in the fighting chair to punch out every word, every letter, every punctuation mark.

As Jack London said, “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

This is why I need to work on consistency. I can make all sorts of excuses for myself and justify them logically, write them out in a nice format with charts and graphs and sound reasoning, but I am never going to finish if I don’t sit down and decide to in the first place.

Keep writing,

Allen

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One thought on “Inspiration

  1. I’ll always remember a lecturer of mine, Dr. Jeffrey Weeter from Chicago, giving me similar words of wisdom regarding music composition. To paraphrase him, he said you’ve just got to sit down every day and try things. It’s great when you get struck with inspiration and can take advantage of it, but composition is usually a process of just sitting down and trying to negotiate into coming out that which already exists inside of you.

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