I am being a SUPER procrastinator because for SOME UNKNOWN REASON I don’t currently want to write the story I want to write, even though I know exactly what to write (which is really quite rare) and I’m just being a real butt about it. In the past few hours I’ve only written a little over one page, and – like I said before – not because I don’t know what to write. But because I don’t feel like making an effort.
Writing this is far less effort. This doesn’t require choosing exactly the right word to describe the way that character said that thing and it doesn’t require navigating what elements are necessary to the plot/character arc/setting development/whathaveyou and what is something I just want to write because or EVEN WORSE what is something that I want to write because deep down inside I just want to be preachy. Stories are not the place for preachy. So I gotta not do that shit. But it can be so tempting.
Anyway – this is far easier than doing those things, and all of the other things that happens when you’re trying to construct an interesting story with good characters. This is just vomiting my thoughts on my keyboard. That’s about it. That’s why blogging is relatively simple. Well…okay, I guess it’s simple if you’re not, like, trying to move worlds and stuff. And sometimes I want to move worlds but right now moving worlds requires effort and you know how I feel about effort? I want to poop on it. That’s how I feel about it.
But anyhoozles. So I thought, “You know…if I’m going to procrastinate at writing this story, I should probably do something somewhat more productive than catching up on vlogbrothers or watching old Markipliervideos or scrolling endlessly through all the facebook posts I’ve already scrolled endlessly through about five times before, hoping there will be something new and interesting. There won’t. But hey, I can write a blog with relatively little effort, right? I could go to bed but I’m not gonna, and that’s another story entirely.
The story I’m going to tell you today is this: waiting for inspiration is bullshit.
It’s true, it really is. Honestly, if writers actually just sat around waiting to be struck by the lightning of inspiration or to be seduced by the muses then we would end up doing exactly what I’ve been doing tonight (read: spending way too much time on YouTube). And you know, the same is true for any art form: I’ve had the great pleasure to work with a number of artists at this point, and none of them can afford to dally about while waiting for inspiration to show up. They’ve gotta be turning out paintings to fill their etsy shops and making new fancies for galleries. The same goes for musicians: they’ve gotta get new material to record and perform on stage. We all love their old classics, but we all also want something new. Same goes for writers. I mean, I fucking love The Name of the Wind but I’m poised at the edge of my seat waiting for Patrick Rothfuss to release Doors of Stone (and I can’t wait until I get a chance to read The Slow Regard of Silent Things – how have I not read this yet?!). Moral of the story: if you’re even half-way serious about making a living on your art, you have to turn out more products. Inspiration isn’t great for turning out new products.
So don’t wait for inspiration. Make your own goddamn inspiration. Think of a story you would like to read, and then sit down and crank it out. If you’re wanting to make a living on your art, then your art has to be work. Of course if you love your art then you get to do this cool thing where you love your work, but it’s still work. You can dally for a while, and you should. By all means, watch that movie you’ve been meaning to watch that just came out in Redbox. Finally read that book your friend gave you last year for Christmas. Watch the latest vlogbrothers video. Let your brain juices stew for a bit. But know that when you’ve let the brain juices stew, it’s time to sit your ass down and get to work, inspiration be damned.
Because if you want to be a writer, and if you’re serious enough about it to regard it as work, to actually sit your ass down and shout “Inspiration be damned!!” then start beating the shit out of your keyboard with your ferocious little fingers…then you have stories to tell, and you should tell them, goddamn it. So do it – just make yourself do it. Push yourself into the story, and you’ll find the rhythm. It’s waiting for you to work through those first trying pages to find it, and once you’ve reached it, you’re gonna be golden.
That said. Maybe I should take my own goddamn advice.
Thank you, Patrick Rothfuss. I knew I'd leeched this from somewhere.
So to the handful of you who’ll end up reading this: thank you so much for taking the time. I appreciate you so much. And your face. I appreciate your face.