Today, a perfectly normal question bothered me. Where do I get my inspiration? Perhaps the same question should have caught my attention when I read Diary by Chuck Palahniuk, but for some reason the question stands out more now.
Let's face, there are times when things get rough. I've gone through entire periods of writing spurts, fulling believing in every word I've jotted down, just to have someone laugh at my work, or even worse, simply say no. There have been times when I've even questioned if I should be a writer, to which I think a religious ideology should be placed. If a Christian questions God, that only opens a door for stronger faith, or so the notion goes. Likewise, I believe if someone has never wondered whether they should be a writer, then they haven't fully immersed themselves in their own craft. Or their faith is just beginning.
Mine began my sophmore year or high school, when I was just a bored student dosing off in my English class. We were reading Death by Chocolate or maybe The Great Gatsby. You know, it's easy to confuse the two. Either way, I had all of my essays completed, all of the readings read, and the extra credit turned in long before it was even available. And I went through the motions.
To me, this was my utter lack of interest in literature. Then my teacher at the time walked up to me after class and pulled me aside. She mentioned how she didn't like the way I was just bullshitting her course. She didn't like how I had everything done in the first month of class. And at this point, I was for damn certain I was going to face disciplinary action.
Instead, she simply said I would show up for her honors course the next day and never turn to the standard sophomore English class.
The day after, she asked me to write some fiction.
And the day after that, another student met me at the locker and showed me a copy of a hand-out they received in class. I couldn't believe it. There it was, my own work being supplied to all of the students. My name wasn't even removed. Apparently she had been using my sample fiction as a means of teaching the proper way to write group dialogue.
Someone pushed me into writing. And for the first time, someone had recognized a skill that I didn't even know I had. And ever since that day, she has continued to keep me writing. (My fiction occurs in Chase County. Guess what her last name is.)
Over time, however, the initial source of inspiration fades. So I began looking around to see what drives other authors. Here's Palahniuk's from his unofficial/official website.
It's interesting to see how similar of stories we share. So what does a writer do when their inspiration isn't drawing results? Well, Stephen King has quite an interesting view, which might piss off a few people. Nonetheless, he has some interesting views on how to pursue being a writer.
At this point, I just see the things that brought me to writing, but I haven't quite found what could keep me doing it. Don't get me wrong; I love writing. The hell of it is, I am pursuing a task which doesn't put food on the table at first. Criticism day in and out just for something that may never be read by a larger audience. Why not put the effort into something else?
Jack Kerouac had a few thoughts during his short years. My favorite "ACCEPT LOSS FOREVER." Maybe that's the key.
Sedaris offers some advice one what do when the writing is just not coming to the writer. http://www.creativecreativity.com/2007/04/david_sedaris_i.html
The next time you sit down to write and it's just not coming, maybe it's still too soon. Set it aside and try again later. It's not writer's block, it's just not ready yet.
So I arrive at the end of this blog without an answer. But here are the things keeping me going at the moment: It's storming in a biblical fashion in Muncie, Indiana; I'm energetic and angry. And there's a keyboard at my fingertips with two eyes before a screen and an imagination in the brain behind them. Oh, and I don't trust this storm, so I am moving away from the window.
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.