You know inspiration, right? It’s that thing you wait for patiently, hour after hour, hoping it’ll sit next to you and whisper sweet nothings and turn that blank screen into a bestseller. In the meantime, your keyboard grows cobwebs Shelob would be proud of.
Literally, inspiration means something that’s “breathed into” you, presumably from the lungs of a great and benevolent deity. No doubt, one who can’t wait to read your next book. And where are deities? Way up high. Mount Olympos. Asgard. Heaven. Something along those lines.
So, like lightning, inspiration strikes from above. Except…lightning doesn’t strike from above. At least, not the part that we can see. The whole lightning process starts when a negative charge builds up in a cloud. After a while, that charge descends from the cloud to the ground. But the visible part of a lightning bolt is the stream that goes from the ground, which is positively charged, back up to the cloud.
We can learn a lot from lightning.
If we sit and wait for inspiration to strike, we may be waiting a long time. Forever, maybe. Which is great, because that gives us an excuse. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to write. definitely not. We were just waiting for inspiration to hit.
The bitter truth is that you have to write without inspiration. Like lightning, you’ve got to start at ground-level and build something that’ll make the heavens sit up and take notice. Or maybe just get the attention of your readers.
I’ve written more than seventy books. You’d think it would be no problem for me to sit down and write. But I don’t always feel like writing. Sometimes I feel like taking a nap. Or kayaking. Or watch that TV show everybody’s clamoring about.
Still, I write.
Right now, I’m writing Lost Days, a Renaissance fantasy for reluctant readers that’s currently in the middle of a Kickstarter funding campaign. Sometimes I love writing it, and I can’t wait to sit down at my computer. Other times not so much.
I’m human, you know?
But the biggest difference between me and a lot of people who want to write–or want to be writers–is that they give in to the temptation to lead normal lives and back-burner that novel they were working on. And I don’t. They may have more talent than I do. A lot more maybe, who knows? Yet I’m the one with seventy-plus books under his belt.
So if you want to be a writer, I’m begging you–don’t wait for lightning to strike. Build it from the ground up. It’s harder that way, sure, but some day your readers will thank you for it.