On Inspiration

Sunday 21 June 2015 by

One of my favourite teachers used to say that producing good creative work was 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. It’s a saying that has stuck with me throughout my life because it’s so true.

There’s nothing that can quite replace or compare to that moment of perfect inspiration – when a scene comes together in a way you couldn’t have imagined or anticipated, when a bolt of lightening strikes you out of the blue and you get that idea that’s so much better than any idea you’ve had before, that excites you. But if we depend on those moments alone to fuel our creative endeavours, then we’ll never get anything done. Because those moments don’t come often.

This is where the perspiration comes in. Sitting down at your desk, or whatever your preferred creative outlet is, and working through the block, the lack of ideas, the lack of motivation, is the only way that anything will ever get done. Sometimes it’s merely a little arduous, other times it’s pure torture. But like anything that involves endurance, it’s all about training.

The more you train your brain to work through the blocks and the drudgery, the better you’ll get at it, the more productive you’ll be. It’s why programs like NaNoWriMo work – the more you write, generally, the easier it is to write. Okay, on NaNo you can suffer from burn out, but at a slightly tamer pace, writing every day and pushing through the block can help to open up your creativity and even make those moments of inspiration come more frequently.

I’m a firm believer in treating writing like a skill. Practise it; train your writing muscles like you’d train your fingers to learn a tune on the piano. The more you do it, the more your skills will grow, and a better conduit for inspiration you’ll become!

You can follow Loralei on Twitter: @LAHaylock

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