"The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart." –Julien Green
Art springs from the soul. A painter splashes colors on the canvas while a dancer twirls to an inner beat. A writer must somehow rearrange letters into art without losing the spark igniting the flame within. What's the secret of writing?
You start. You continue. You finish.
"I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work." –Pearl S. Buck
Today, I'm living my words. After a week of finishing up edits, writing a dedication, and dreaming up my Pop Culture Divas' post, I sat down to compose my essay with my mind utterly blank. *Knock-Knock* "Hello! Inspiration, where are you?"
Start. Continue. Finish. *wink*
Now, wait a minute, my soul whispers, that hardly seems like a magic formula. I crave inspiration! Where's that brilliant electric spark? A bolt of lightning would be mighty fine right about now. Truth is, an author who only writes when the fever of inspiration is upon her is a rare breed. For the most part, that scenario is backwards. We write to find our inspiration.
"To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can." — Og Mandino
Write. If you have a glimmer of an idea, explore it while your fingers are dancing on the keyboard. The process of pounding those keys is just like strolling down a lane. Whether your destination is planned is irrelevant; your writing is taking you somewhere and soon you will know.
"A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting." —Carlos Castaneda
It may seem counterintuitive to write without knowing what you're going to say but it's not. Ever observe a comedian at work? Just watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert is a revelation. Sure, much of what they say on the air is scripted. However, those precious quips of sidesplitting hilarity often result from a response In the Moment. How do they do it? They talk the way we should write. They've trained themselves to think on their feet. They're not planning the adlib, it just happens. Writers need to train themselves to 'write on their feet'. Let our souls do the talking. *grin*
"It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything." –Virginia Woolf
Fabulous, I've started my essay. Yahoo! Except… Whoops. Now what? The dreaded middle has come upon me. What to do? For me, the steps are simple. If I'm feeling stumped, I pause and reread what I wrote. Hey! There's actually an idea there. Where did that come from? Who the heck knows or cares. I'm 'writing on my feet' now and my fingers are tapping away. Uh-huh, I get it now. Keep writing. I've found the spark of my idea. Somehow it slipped in when all I thought I was doing was typing. Yes!
"Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living." –Anais Nin
"Action is the antidote to despair." –Joan Baez
Just seeing what I've already written has perked my spirits up. I'm riding high on the momentum my fingertips have managed to produce. Remember, my friends, We Are Writers. Writers write and it's the process of putting those words on paper—no matter what the content—that helps us build a bridge between wishing for inspiration and finding the magic within our souls.
Uh-oh. The pages have flown by, along with a couple of hours. No matter how quickly I think the writing will flow, time has a way of disappearing. For some authors, starting is as scary as leaping off a cliff. For others, the dreaded middle leaves them stumped. Yet there are those of us that feel the greatest pinch when faced with the realization that the book needs to be wrapped up. How to find my way out of the maze to the enchanted land called The End?
Hmm. The answer is whispering already in my heart.
"Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work." –Rita Mae Brown
Once again, I must trust and 'write on my feet'. After a lifetime of spontaneous communication, the answer is finding its way into my heart. Illumination occurs within a heartbeat. Painters discover their art as their brushes caress the canvas. A musician turns off conscious control and lets the music pour from a hidden place deep within their souls. Writers must do the same. Everyone feels blocked now and again. Everyone trembles with fear, worrying that the brilliance they crave will never appear.
There's a myriad of methods for moving past the fear and getting back into the groove. However, it always comes down to one truth. If you want to have written, you must write. Later, you can revise. Afterwards, you can rearrange those words until they sparkle and shine. For now, You Must Write.
"Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent." –Sophia Loren
"All of us have bad luck and good luck. The man who persists through the bad luck - who keeps right on going - is the man who is there when the good luck comes - and is ready to receive it." –Robert Collier
May arrives along with my favorite season of all—Spring! Time to plant those seeds, literal and figurative, so that our gardens may grow. Summer will soon be here and even with longer days, we'll find the time disappears like snowflakes in the sun. Now's the time to set our inner alarm clocks to remind us to Wake Up And Get Writing! Are you with me?
What are some of your favorite tips for self-motivation?
Also featured at Pop Culture Divas!