The Work of Inspiration

I’m writing a novel – two, actually – and as much as I would love to be able to sit down and let inspiration do its thing through my fingers on the keyboard, that’s not how it works. One thing I’ve discovered: inspiration is only an idea. And that idea won’t become something tangible until after you start writing. That’s the hard part.

Isn’t it the same in every area of our lives? We can have the greatest ideas in the world, but they remain ideas until we act on them.

I used to say that I was an idea person. I was pretty proud of the way I could come up with all kinds of grand and lofty things. But the follow-through was not for me, I’d say, and I’d leave those ideas for other people to carry out. I’d take the credit, of course. How dumb. How arrogant. How take-the-easy-way-out.

It wasn’t until I had my own business that I realized that if I had an inspirational moment, there was nobody to do the work but me. I would have to take that idea, plan its execution, and do it myself. A very sobering lesson.

Life as a writer requires the same evaluation. While the ideas are endless and everything is a possibility, the actual writing can be a disaster. Or a stroke of genius. The bottom line is that in order to be a writer, you have to write. All the time. Even when you don’t feel like it, and especially when that moment of inspiration takes you to places you’d never thought of before.

There’s a spiritual lesson here as well, but I’ll leave that for another day . . .

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