Thursday, October 1, 2020

Inspiration by Diane Burton


"You can't wait for inspiration. Sometimes you have to go after it with a club." ~ Jack London

That, in essence, is my problem. I wait for inspiration. I’ve worked on a science fiction romance for well over two years . . . maybe three. I’ve lost count. Something is wrong with the story. Hang on. It’s not the story. It’s the author. She’s waiting for inspiration.

A new story is like a birthday present. I can’t wait to tear off the paper and see what’s inside. A new story comes to me in the oddest ways. Sometimes, it’s in a dream . . . or in that twilight just before sleep when my mind drifts. Most nights, my mind races from one thing to another. What I need to do the next day, what I forgot to do, what I need to add to the grocery list.

But when my mind settles down and clears, ideas float through. If I were organized, I’d write down the idea, using the lighted pen my friend gave me. Big problem. I have no idea where that pen is. Besides, if I did find pen and paper, I’d wake up, and my mind would start racing again. Who wants that? Besides, if the idea is strong enough, I’ll remember it in the morning. Usually.

The idea is the best part of the new story. It’s shiny, new—squirrel. Like the lovable dog in the movie Up, I’ll chase that new idea, leaving the old one behind.

If I were disciplined, I would jot down the new idea then return to the old story. The story I need to finish first. Wonderful advice. If I followed it, my story would be done.

Why am I not writing?

Am I waiting for my Muse to use her cattle prod? Is she whispering “Open the file” but Netflix is so loud I can’t hear her? Or is it easier to let life’s stresses grab a hold of my mind?

All of the above?

I’m open to any suggestions on getting inspiration back into my mind. Anyone have a club?



Maureen said...

I hear you Diane! I'm always distracted by 'something shiny' and have been trying to discipline myself better to finish what I started first.

Diane Burton said...

Thanks, Maureen. Yep. Easier to work on something new. Discipline is what I'm missing. LOL

Jean Davis said...

We have a meeting a couple weeks and I want to read your pages from that story. Oh wait, does pressure count as inspiration? 😀

Nancy Gideon said...

Di, when were you the most productive with your writing? A particular time of day? After a regular routine of chores? Late at night? Find those patterns and bring them back into your day to day. If you love binge watching like I do, use that as your carrot on the stick. No Netflix until 5-10 pages. Tho' I can't force myself to get up at 4:30 AM now that I'm retired, the early hours are still my best. When I found myself spending HOURS on social media, I made that my carrot. No opening FB or MSN until after my pages were done. That forced me to finish my new release and has gotten me into Chapter 2 of the new project. If you like, I can threaten you because I REALLY want to read that next book!!

Lucy K. said...

I hear you loud and clear, Diane. It's so easy right now to be distracted by everything going on in the world, and in our own lives, too. Tom had two cataract surgeries this month, and while they went well and are really minor, it seems the entire month has been consumed by that and all the other appointments that go along with it. Plus, I am torn between working on a new book and revising a finished ms. to submit to my publisher. Then I wander off and take a class or two. I seem to have lost my structure, but I have faith I'll get it back. I think you will, too, or you could just let Nancy threaten you, lol!

Anonymous said...

Great post. I think a lot of writers have that problem with certain stories. I get hung up, too. Good luck finding your muse! --Elizabeth