The Gift of Inspiration

It’s almost three months since writers reached the finish line of NaNoWriMo. If you participated, what have you done {with your NaNo project} since? Some writers ignore the “deadline” of November 30th, and keep writing. Others heave a huge sigh of relief, save their latest draft (you did save your latest draft, right?), and set it aside to marinate awhile. There’s always a handful who didn’t make it to November 30th, having gotten lost in the tangle of words midway through the month. And you can bet a bunch of writers began revisions right away or possibly just started looking at the draft to see what steps need to be taken.

Even if you didn’t participate in NaNoWriMo—where are you with your current manuscript?

Writing a story is the ultimate goal for writers. Be it a novel, short story, memoir, biography — form isn’t the point. The bottom line is writers write to write stories.

Beginning a story, or fleshing out the idea, can be easy for some of us because we are filled with fresh inspiration and boundless energy. Just like the start of a physical journey, the journey of writing a story usually begins with enthusiasm, anticipation, motivation, and a bag full of snacks.

Until we’re waylaid by unexpected forces.

Some of us are able to push onward, but many more cannot. Motivation is lost, bag of snacks hopelessly empty, and the horizon might as well just be a flipping brick wall.

Then the writer’s guilt occurs, where you beat yourself up for not making it. And then your confidence takes a hit, and for a scary percentage, it’s all over from there.

Please, writers, don’t look at not being able to finish your story as a measurement of your ability to write a story. As I told one writer friend, look at your effort and desire to write a story as an opportunity to make something out of nothing, because that is the heart of what we do.

Writers make magic. And the spell is everlasting, as long as we wield our wands.

You now have a story, or at the very least, a seed of a story. And it is representative of your creativity. Beauty or grace right now is irrelevant. What is important is your story’s, and ultimately, your creativity’s potential.

For me, NaNoWriMo is a chance to see what my imagination can come up with when Eris doesn’t get in the way. This {ANY} writing challenge sparks my ferocity. It serves to remind me why noveling is in my blood, why I can’t pass over an intriguing story idea. Whatever I create in those 30 days is fuel for my writing post-NaNoWriMo.

Actually, I don’t need a writing challenge to be inspired to write a story. I’m there at the keyboard through rain and shine, even when I’m up against structural breakdowns, character mishaps, and plot holes so big not even Bigfoot is safe.

I compare writing a story to a tennis game. Points are gained, momentum is gained. Points are missed, a lesson is learned and patience is called upon. There may be a lot of cycles of deuces, ad-ins, ad-outs, over and over and over. I determined a long time ago that even if things aren’t going my way I will keep trying.

But what about the writer who has lost interest in their story? Or maybe they began writing for the wrong reasons? Perhaps midway along they realized, “Yeah, no, this isn’t for me.” Does that mean they’ve given up? That they can’t cut it? That maybe they should take up macramé instead?

No.

Maybe they’ve grown apart. Perhaps they’re just not ready for each other yet, and the story needs to incubate a little longer. Or THE WRITER needs to incubate a little longer. Maybe another story idea fits better at this time.

There is no shame there, no guilt, nothing to hang our head over. The phrases “give up” and “quit” are loaded with negativity. Let’s not go there, guys. There is no way a writer can know if the story is the right story for her to write in that moment in her lifetime UNTIL she actually sits down and tests it out. This is all part of the process and every writer will have a different experience.

No matter where you might be with your current manuscript or if you’re between manuscripts, take pride in knowing you can write for the hell of it.

You aren’t obligated to prove anything. Even if what you worked on isn’t one you want to continue with, look at an unfinished MS as a gift of B L O S S O M I N G creativity. You were blessed with inspiration, a story idea, and the motivation to see what you can do with it.

Sometimes that may require some nurturing, extra thought + care, and back + forth. At least you were paying attention — you know how many times people have been blessed with inspiration and they don’t even give it a second glance?

Maybe you have decided to follow through on your intentions. Or maybe you’ve released the story from your imagination and moved on. Either way, you were blessed with a chance to indulge in creativity and inspiration. That’s an incredible world to hang out in, no matter how long you’re there.

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