Writing – Inspiration, Perspiration or Persistence?
Since I came back from Venice, I’ve been struggling to write. This is so frustrating. The end of the first draft is in sight, the chapters are planned, but I CAN’T WRITE.
I’ve found myself pondering – not for the first time – the question in the title of this post. What’s going to get me writing? Do I leave it until inspiration arrives? Should I go off and do something completely different while I wait for that magical moment of inspiration?
Or do I sit at the computer doggedly, not giving up even if I only manage to squeeze out a measly couple of hundred words of pedestrian prose?When I give talk about my books and writing, I’m often asked about the writing process. About whether I have to feel inspired to write. And my answer always involves something apparently unrelated. If you want to lose weight, you can’t leave it until you feel like eating less. If you want to run a marathon, you can’t train only on the days the sun is shining, you feel energetic, and a run in the park appeals.
A few weeks ago, I watched as the Tour of Britain passed within five minutes of where I live. As I took in the amazing sight of these guys sweeping round the corner and disappearing from sight in seconds, it came home to me again that success is not to do with feeling inspired.
They didn’t get to be the super-fit cyclists they are by waiting until they felt like a bike ride. They had to get on their bikes when it was cold, they didn’t feel well, their muscles ached, when all they wanted to do was NOTHING.
And there’s the answer. The reason I spent several miserable days last week and this staring at the computer, forcing myself to put one word after another on the screen, each one seemingly harder to achieve than the one before. And I believe the reason why yesterday the sun came out and I wrote 1000 words without any anguish in a couple of hours before I had to go and take a class.
As Picasso said: