Please Kill Me,
So, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter lately (@I_AM_ANTWAN …if you’re interested). If you don’t know, there’s this fun little hashtag (#WritingCommunity) where writers from all over the globe come together to celebrate the craft. Now, as you can probably guess, not every member is a slam-dunk so to speak (it is still Twitter, after all). However, from what I’ve seen, it’s mostly a good spot to crash with any of your writerly ideas, questions, inquiries, or general techno-horseplay (#CueHouseMusic). If you’re friendly enough, you may even find a few good resources. Worth a look.
Anyway, while embarking on yet another endless scroll, I came across a thread (which has since escaped me) where a handful of various-level authors discussed finding their inspirations. As you could imagine, some were fairly straightforward, (i.e. “Just sit in the chair and write,”) while others were mythical, (i.e. “Just get in touch with your spirit animal… Then SIT IN THE CHAIR AND WRITE… you bastard,”) while others still were more eloquent, (i.e. “It is my utmost recommendation that you query your ambitions with a firm lowering of your hind-quarters atop a properly padded receptacle. Then WRITE …YOU BASTARD!”)
The point is, I don’t think that anyone really answered the question—beyond their own anecdotal evidence. Tips like that are a tricky thing, so it’s understandable. However, it often feels like most of the people giving advice can only really suggest action from their own position and knowledge. Never forget that every category has a spectrum. It’s okay for the audience to forget that. It’s less conducive for the craftsman or craftswoman in question.
So, in a vain attempt at bridging the gap, I thought I might share some thoughts on the subject of inspiration—if only to kill some time before I can’t procrastinate any longer.
First up, I have mixed feelings about the whole inspiration thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had those strikes of brilliance myself, and quite often they end up as complete (or nearly complete stories). Sometimes, I even sell them (*cough* “Buy my book” *cough*). However, I was never really a fan of waiting around for the universe to dump a gold nugget into my cerebellum. Mix that with the tangible pain of waiting for a writable idea, and you’ve got yourself some deflated momentum.
Instead, I’ve come to follow an old adage, by acclaimed philosopher and prophet Shawn Carter (Jay-Z to some…). Essentially the motto is: “When inspiration won’t come to you, you go to your inspiration.” Granted, he was talking about music, but I think that it applies here.
As you continue this writer journey of yours (and if you’re lucky enough to do it full time) you’ll find that much of what’ll keep you afloat will be the inspiration you seek. We live tough lives (for the most part) and inspiration won’t just be knocking on our door, in lingerie, holding a smoldering cigar and a glass of whiskey for us every night (#JustMyDream?). So, we’ve got to find it.
Here’s where it gets a little murky. How to search for that inspiration is, in and of itself, entirely dependent on the writer. Though I may not be able to give you a ‘How to,” pertaining to the search (you shouldn’t want one anyway) I CAN say that finding it is easy, once you know what you’re looking for.
The kernel of every great story—particularly the ones that reach completion (#Giggidy) comes from an author intimately engaged or otherwise irrevocably infatuated with the material. Sometimes, we have to go hunting for that. Remember, if it was easy, everyone would do it.
It takes more than that initial shock to your brain. It takes more than the constant nagging of a concept. It takes more than talking about it before you’ve even written a word. It takes action. It takes the involuntary forward-step of sitting in the chair and getting SOMETHING down. It doesn’t have to be good. It doesn’t have to make sense. It just has to be something that you wrote because you physically couldn’t go another moment without making it real. That’s the seed you search for. THAT’S the seed you sow. Those are the fruits that will provide you a lush harvest.
Find the story that doesn’t give you a choice and the rest will follow. If nothing comes of it, then you know to keep searching. Searching is writing too.
I suppose that all just boils down to, “JUST SIT DOWN AND WRITE… YOU BASTARD!”
I’ll admit… it’s succinct.
Until Next Time,
Welcome to the depths of chaos. After exploring themes of humanity and destruction in the previous two installments, Antwan Crump furthers the “A Collection of Things” series with six thrilling new tales that redefine life, death, desire, and consequence. Do we dare to face the darkness or will it devour us before we can question its purpose?