When Sally asked if I would be interested in writing a text about inspiration I meekly confessed: ‘But I don’t believe in it.’ As if we were talking about Santa Claus. Or God. ‘Great!’ Sally replied. ‘You can write an anti inspiration text!’ So here is my text about why I don’t believe in inspiration, at least for a writer.
I have written seven published books and have two more on the go, yet I can count on one hand the times I have felt inspired to write. I love writing, it’s my dream job, but it’s hard (who said it was meant to be easy?). I write because I love stories. I love words. I love creating dialogue. Yet I never, ever try to get inspired to write. I sit down and just try to get something – ANYTHING – down on the page. Because if you don’t have any text on paper you don’t have anything to rewrite and it’s all about the rewrite. If it’s in your head it doesn’t count. Only what’s on the page counts. It’s as simple as that.
Not believing in inspiration is actually empowering. It means not relying on any external, mysterious source to start writing but knowing that it’s already there inside of me. But while I don’t believe in inspiration I believe in research, reading as much as possible and trying to experience as many different encounters, events and environments as possible. ‘But isn’t that inspiration’, I hear you ask? No, that is simply living life. And without living a bit you have nothing to write about. ‘Move somewhere new’, the writer Paul Rome suggests as if knowing the life of most ISTA teachers, while B.J.