Inspiration; It’s not all that.

From several observations, I know how much we wish, hope and strive to find inspiration to help us in our writing. How often do you stare at a blank page or screen begging for something to jump out at you and reignite your passion for words? When we’re stuck, we search the web. Check out pinterest. Listen to music. Explore the local coffee shop as though we’re expecting to step into a new dimension where the writing bug is abundant. We’re desperate for anything that can help give us a fresh perspective, a renewed vigor for our love child.

It’s so strange that autumn is so beautiful; yet everything is dying.
William Shakespeare

However, relying on inspiration to write, and using its absence as an excuse not to, has only one end goal.

Failure.

If you rely on that often-hidden muse, you’ll have no productivity and that novel you’ve been desperate to write will remain as an unfinished document gathering dust. Despite the stigma that this is a hobby, if you’re truly serious about your career, then writing is a business. You have to treat it like one. And that means arranging a schedule like every other businessperson. Doesn’t matter that you’re working from home, or paying yourself. If you want to be a success, you have to be disciplined. If you decide you don’t want to write today, then you won’t get paid. It’s simple maths. 1 – 1 = 0. Can you afford to live like this?

Why let something as fallible as inspiration rule over whether you make a career of this or not? It’s cliched and boring to hear that the more you write the better, and easier, it becomes, but it’s true. The same with any muscle in the body, if you work at it, you’re going to become stronger. Finding motivation in art, music, nature, books, online etc. is great, but don’t give it so much credence that without it you’re crippled. It’s a bonus, not a necessity.

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
Louis L’Amour

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Is Writing A Craft?

As I’m coming to the end of my Master’s degree in Creative Writing, I’ve been reflecting on the subject and how my ability to entwine cohesive clauses in a plot thick with action, excitement, and an intricately woven storyline has grown.

In the past I had often been told that the more I wrote, the better I would become. Like working a muscle to its optimal performance. Even before beginning this degree, I had noticed a change between the first novel I published and the latest at the time. It still makes me cringe when I consider my standards then to what I now know in comparison. But, all of this is great, because it means I’ve progressed, continued to learn when I could’ve been lazy and stuck to what I knew.

I firmly believe that writing is a craft with endless development. Whether that’s in grammar and punctuation, language, purposeful use of lexis, tools in structure, story, plot, character, dialogue, forms. . . The list goes on, and like everything else it evolves. If you want to be better, you cannot stay still.

Do you remember in English class when you were made to inspect literature in fine detail, the likes of William Shakespeare for example? You’d be deconstructing the prose or poetry all the way down to single words. And I’m sure you often questioned whether the author had been that precise on word choice, sub-text etc. on purpose, if it happened haphazardly, or if it were coincidental and academia made it up entirely, wanting to find double-meanings for the sake of being intelligent. I know I often suspected if it were true, and that was mostly based on my own writing process.

When I’m in the throes of getting the first draft of my latest novel done, I can be so in tune with my characters and story that I don’t deliberately choose my vocabulary. For example, using the same verbs that relate to the location I’m in.
(In a coffee shop) ‘The man’s misery wafts around him.’

The verb ‘wafts’ directly links to the scent of a coffee shop, its aroma permeates the air. Admittedly, it hadn’t been my intention to write with such insight. I just did it. But now, after completing the first full draft of my dissertation, I understand how important it can be to carefully select phrases, structure, lexis etc. to strengthen my writing. Even if that means slight details where sentences affect pacing.

Now, this makes me wonder even more if Shakey etc. really did understand the power and impact their writings made. Then again, he is the brain behind much of our vocabulary and phrases e.g. ‘seen better days’, ‘sorry sight’, ‘full circle’. If only I could converse with him myself; I’d dissect every inch of his brilliance.

Do you think writing is a craft? Or is it an easy vocation, the job anyone can do?

Let the story unfold…

Once upon a time, there was a girl with a dream as big as the moon…

No…Really?

OK,  let’s  start  again.

*Clears  throat*  I’m a new writer gearing  up to break into the publishing world.  I’ll be posting snippets of my previous work and current projects for you to read, laugh at, ridicule, and judge. Your comments are welcome, whether they’re kind (thumbs up!) or not (boohoo!) As much as I joke, your opinion on my work is valuable, so I thank you in advance for doing me the honour in reading what I write. *Hugs all round*

I won’t bore you with the minor details about myself, I’ll save them for the tragic, clumsy-fuelled stories that propel me through the day.  I’m really clumsy, you’ll see. I’m in my twenties, I live in the UK hence the spelling, I bake – a lot, I  write (obviously), and eat – I’m obsessed with food.  That sums me up a treat (pun intended).

I think I’ve waffled on enough now…Man, I’m on a roll! 😉

Laters!

Justine