Monday, August 6, 2012
Now I am a firm believer in skill > idea. As Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn, Way of Kings) says, ideas are cheap. I know myself I think of something "cool" to write about at least twice daily. It takes patience, endurance and skill to make a good novel. Still, inspiration does have its values.
Inspiration and inspired writing, tend to be the things that drive a story on. Editing can clean things up, fill in holes, but it is the "Hey this is a really cool thing I want to write about" that for me fills the most pages. When I feel like I am trudging through a section it is usually the stuff I edit most afterwards.
So that got me thinking. What is this inspiration thing, where does it come from. For the most part I don't believe the clouds part, the earth opens and the mystical forces plop great ideas directly into your brain (although that would be awesome). Personally I think writers are sponges. We take things in, you see a cat slinking up the hallway, its tail flickering against a wall as it spots its playmate. Inching closer it bends down hunching its shoulders, anticipation building in its haunches moments before it pounces. This image sticks with you and the next time your writing it may find its way in, maybe instead of a cat it's a dragon. I remember when I was younger living in Tennessee and hiking in the foot hills around there. When I'm writing a forest scene I can still pull up sounds, images and smells remembered from all that time ago.
R. A. Salvatore (legend of Drizzt, Saga of the First King) said in an interview that there is no such thing as writer's block, he said to him it is just a lack of confidence in what you're writing. I tend to agree, but also sometimes I think it is this feeling that we are not inspired. I have found in this situation the best thing to do is get up, go walk through the woods and stare at trees, go to the mall and watch people, watch a movie or listen to music. Any of these things will allow you to "fill up" that sponge of a writer's brain we all tend to have.
Anyway these are some of the things that work for me, have fun and keep writing.