You know what inspires me? Money.
It sounds mercenary, but there you have it. I’ve mentioned before that when I dreamed of being a writer as a little kid, what I actually dreamed of was being rich without much effort. And yes, I still would like to be rich. Wouldn’t you?
The thing about money is that it’s a means to an end. As the saying goes, it’s more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes-Benz than on a bicycle.
I could have chosen any number of other ways to make money, but writing is what I picked, because I’d be doing it no matter what else I was working on, so I might as well try to make money off it. This is what is known in the business world as “freelancing”, and it can be fun, and it can also be a way for you to slam your head against the wall.
Because, whether you like it or not, whether you dress it up with a bathrobe and coffee mug or not, writing, like any other type of freelancing, is work.
Inspiration? The muse with a fluffy white dress and an enigmatic smile, who floats down from the clouds to play her harp at you? She’s a flaky piece of work that can’t be trusted. And plot bunnies can come from anywhere, but you have to corral them, or they’ll multiply and then you won’t be able to focus on anything.
If you’re going to wring a living from typing words on a screen, there has to be discipline involved. Whether the muse is there or not, you have to write. Whether the plot bunnies are multitudinous or not, you have to write. Whether you feel like slamming your head against the wall or not, you have to write.
Yeah, sometimes it feels like pulling teeth. But people who are trying to make a living, to be quite blunt, don’t have the time to get writer’s block. Because you still have to write.
And honestly, if you don’t feel like writing? If, in that miserable moment, you would rather do anything but write?
Imagine what it’ll be like, ten years down the road, if you don’t keep at it.
Imagine what it’ll be like, ten years down the road, if you do.
Like I said, money’s a heck of an inspiration.
And the wonderful thing about writing is even though you’re sitting down, it’s still a muscle. If you exercise it enough it gets easier. The one thing I can say NaNoWriMo did for me, is that it gave me the confidence to know that I could write four thousand words in one sitting. Before that I’d had no idea. So practice, and it will get easier.
And then writer’s block, and inspiration, and the rest of it? Might feel a little bit less like slamming your head into the wall.