On Inspiration

The Daily Writer by Fred White

What a wonderful feeling it is to feel inspired. Inspiration not only uplifts us and fills us with faith and optimism, it energizes us and makes us feel as if we can achieve whatever our hearts desire. Are you inspired to write the great American novel? Then say to yourself, Yes! I can do it! And then start working on it that very moment.

Serious writers do not wait for inspiration to strike, however—no more than they wait around for inspiration when it comes to doing their day jobs. Inspiration is most fruitful when it is worked into a pre-existing work routine. If you do not have such a routine, make one. You will get better mileage from a flash of inspiration when you’re already in the habit of writing on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, those who write regularly are most often visited by the inspirational Muse. Readiness is all.

Instead of waiting for inspiration to strike in order to start writing, do just the opposite: start writing in order to generate enough inspiration to keep on writing. Inspiration works best when you’re already immersed in the work. If you wait for inspiration to strike your writing will be infrequent and short-lived at best.

Begin drafting a story or essay the moment you get a flash of an idea; don’t take time at this stage to do any outlining or research. Keep writing until you feel that gentle nudge of inspiration to keep going. Some writers will stop at this point, confident, now that they have a sense of direction, that they can pick up where they left off the next day … or next week … or next month. Don’t give procrastination a chance to undermine your forward motion. When the urge to keep writing strikes write with even more gusto.

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