By: Marilyn L. Davis
“Instead of discussing with myself every morning whether I feel inspired or not, I step into my office every day at nine sharp, open the window and politely ask the muse to enter and kiss me. Sometimes she comes in, more often she does not. But she can never claim that she hasn’t found me waiting in the right place.” ― Peter Prange
Writers are people with thoughts that end up on scraps of paper, notebooks or random files on their computers. Then there are those who keep a daily episodic journal. Some of us travel everywhere with notebooks, or devices, where we jot down a couple of paragraphs, vowing to finish it later. We’ll get inspired by a look, a conversation, the scenery – just about anything and we jot a few words down. What usually happens is there are multiple unfinished pieces scattered in notebooks or files on our computers. Then we have a catastrophic computer crash and lose all of those files, or an injury and our children and grandchildren read our private thoughts while looking for insurance information.
But good writers take the time to review those snippets or seemingly unimportant and inconsequential groups of words until they can create a piece from them. It’s those mundane, insignificant words that, when combined, turn into a sentence, then a paragraph, then a short piece, then a book. That finished product is what keeps us writing. Then we put it out there for public scrutiny.
That’s what it means to be a Working Writer.
Just what inspires the Working Writer? Although we’ve got our trusty compilation of random thoughts, we are also inspired by some of the following:
- Random conversations
However, there is another source of inspiration that you might not have realized. How many writers’ forums do you participate in, or are you a member of a group on Facebook, Google + or LinkedIn? Think Facebook is only for posting family photos? Not necessarily. When you take the time to read other people’s blogs, articles or responses, it can prompt a piece.
Some of my favorite inspirations are from quotes by accomplished individuals. Some of the quotes are from authors about writing; others are from people who understand life, including its ups and downs. While all of these quotes were inspirational at the time, they might not have worked in a current post, so they languished in an orphaned file called writing quotes or inspirational quotes. So much for fleeting inspiration. When I didn’t take the time to review them, invariably, I forgot what quotes I had already copied or couldn’t remember where I’d filed just the absolutely-correct-quote.
Last week, I made a commitment to review those orphaned files once a week. It’s been eye-opening to see how many of them worked together to reinforce and highlight a particular aspect of one of my posts.
But there’s another inspirational aspect to those of us who write. It’s our muse.
People often refer to the inspiration of “The Muse”, as an external reference for prompts in the arts. However, our muse is often found within us when we contemplate and develop our initial inspirational prompts. But like anything else in life, we have to be positioned to take advantage of the help our muse is giving. I tend to be a visual person and when I found this description of a muse; I knew that my initial idea that the muse could also be found within us was correct.
“If I ever saw my muse, she would be an old woman with a tight bun and spectacles poking me in the middle of the back and growling, “Wake up and write the book!”― Kerry Greenwood, author of the Phryne Fisher Historical Mysteries
This isn’t really about vanity, but then again, reflect on this:
If you view my avatar/photo, you will notice that I have a bun. That’s because:
- I do not do hairstyles.
- I do not understand hair as an accessory.
- My hair just sits on my head, as evidenced by the photo.
- My glasses usually stay perched on top of my head.
- My ears are a perfect spot for the red pencil that I use for editing.
- I justify this lack of attention to my hair as having all my writer’s tools easily accessible.
So, although I can’t claim to have inspired Kerry Greenwood in any way, her description sounds suspiciously like me. Therefore, I’m making a faulty logic leap here, but I have decided that my inner muse will take inspiration from outside sources, but she and I will daily, “Wake up and write.”
I’ll position myself each day to move from inspired to a finished piece. There’s another self-serving reason for this. If I don’t compile those random thoughts and opinions and finish a piece, who knows what my grandchildren will think of my musings when they find my writer’s notebooks?
Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing