On Cycles of Inspiration, Among Other Things

22 Feb

Today I was able to sit down and write for a solid hour, nearly uninterrupted. While this might sound like a small feat that is hardly brag-worthy, for me, finding time to write something of substance is about easy as climbing Everest. Which is to say, not easy in the slightest.

I’ve found that writing, like nearly everything in my life, comes and goes in cycles. I have periods of inspiration and pencils and paper and carpel tunnel from typing too much and furiously scribbled chicken scratch notes tucked in the most random of places. Then I go through a phase of moping, self-loathing, self-doubt and self-pity, where I write very little, before something reminds me of why I put myself through the loathing, doubt and pity in the first place and the whole cycle starts anew.

My dear friend Ali (who is, herself, an inspiration to me in ways so numerous they can’t be contained in one blog entry) recently tweeted a quote from the great Neil Gaiman’s blog which will stick with me as one of my all-time favorites. It read, “My morale is starting to improve, as it always does when writing happens, and I remember that I actually can do it after all.” This quote struck a chord with me because I read it at a time when I wasn’t writing much, if at all (as my lack of blog entries attests) and I knew instantly that it was true.

It always starts as something relatively innocent that knocks me off track. A good book or a full TiVo, just something that prevents me from writing a page in my novel, or a blog entry, or even an email. But the second that one day goes by where I haven’t written anything, it’s like I’m struck with writer’s amnesia. I forget that I am capable, that my work is good and that I’m not just wasting my time. So I’ll let another day slip by. And another. And another. Then pretty soon it feels helpless and like I’m “behind” on some meaningless deadline I’ve set for myself, when in reality none of that matters.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I think that mentally, I often set myself up for failure. I’ll say “I’m going to finish my book this summer.” Or, “I’m going to write at least two pages a day.” Then, the second that doesn’t happen, I feel like I’ve lost. What I should be saying is, “I’m going to write as much as I can.” If I miss a day, or two, or three, I need to not get hung up on it. I need to realize that shit happens. Life happens. But having a day without my thoughts expunged into words is not an excuse to stop. It’s a reason to continue. Because Neil Gaiman has it right. I never feel more like a writer than when I’m writing, and I’m never happier than when I feel like a writer.


2 Responses to “On Cycles of Inspiration, Among Other Things”

  1. Writing Jobs February 23, 2012 at 2:27 am #

    Wonderful post today. I found it very interesting. Thank you very much for sharing.

    Enjoy writing? We would love for you to join us!

    Writing Jobs Available – Writers Wanted

  2. Ali Trotta February 23, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    This is where I start blushing, right? Because I am.

    Andrea, that is a big thing — carving out the time to write. I’m glad that it reminded you on how awesome you are. Because you are, you know, awesome. ❤

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