Forced Inspiration


This is a photo of me attempting an eye roll. I’m no good at it anymore.

You’ve heard all the writing talking heads.

There is one school of thought: You’re a writer, you write. You write every day. You write for money. You write to sell. You don’t give anything away. Your sole purpose for writing (besides telling a good story) is to get an agent/contract/publishing house and make it into the big time.

There’s another school of thought: You write because you’re an artist. You might write to hone your craft, or when you are seized by whimsy. You write to create a world, perhaps beautiful, perhaps stark. You write because you enjoy it, not because it’s a job.

Either way, there must be a thread of inspiration. Sometimes it comes easily, sometimes not so much.

I had a very uninspiring 2014. Too much drama, too many bad things visiting me all at once. When it rained, it poured, and poured again. My inspiration was frozen, like a freighter in Lake Michigan in mid-January. Stuck. It sucked.

When my kids were little, I started what I called Forced Family Fun Night. Usually, it was Friday or Saturday. We’d have our meal together, and then take turns picking out and watching a movie. Or we’d go to the symphony en masse. Or we’d go golfing or bowling. The point was to make an appointment to be with the family, the entire family, one day a week.

I can’t believe it, but my kids did this (albeit somewhat grudgingly) until they graduated from high school and flew off to the West Coast for college.

The point is this: sometimes you must force inspiration. Sometimes the Muse (or whatever you want to call it) doesn’t light on your shoulder  and sprinkle you with fairy dust. Sometimes you have to part a sea of self-doubt and beat the ideas out of your dusty, drafty head.

Sometimes you have to go to a place you don’t want to go to and experience something you’ve never done before. Step outside of your frozen comfort zone and off the cliff. The best inspiration comes from putting yourself into an uncomfortable situation.

And me? I’m going there. Right now. Write now.

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