I know what you’re thinking. I can’t write if I’m not inspired! What would I write about??
This is, of course, an excellent point. But the problem is, if you only write when you’re inspired, you’ll hardly ever do it. Besides, inspiration often comes at the most inconvenient times – in the shower, at 3am, when you’re making dinner, when you jump into the car to do the errands or whatever. In any case, it’s often when you are simply not able to make the most of it. But what of writing when you’re uninspired? Well yes, it can be difficult … but it can also be done.
Take my case – and I’m sure I’m not alone here. With young children, my writing time is limited to when they are either being educated or, mostly in the case of the baby, asleep. I rarely get more than an hour or two at a time to write, and even then I have no idea how long it will be before the baby monitor starts lighting up again, signalling that my attention is needed elsewhere. As such, I have arranged my time to have a Writing Day each week. (See? I’ve even capitalised it. That’s how important it is to me.) This is my day when I don’t do anything else – no extra-curricular activities for the kids, no shopping, no running down to the post office, nothing. For as long as I can (ie, when the baby isn’t complaining), I sit at my computer and I write.
The thing is, naturally, that I’m not always feeling particularly inspired on my Writing Day. Maybe the baby got me up at 4.30am and I’m crying out for a nap. Maybe the house needs cleaning. Maybe there’s something that I want to watch on television. Maybe I’m just not feeling creative. And I’m sure you’ve all been there.
However, I make myself do it. I have a look over what I’ve already written, and I can generally find something to do. Maybe it’s just the odd paragraph here or there. Maybe it’s editing – which I know I shouldn’t do till the first draft is finished, but I feel that any progress on a Writing Day is good. Maybe it’s a scene that I’ve been playing with in my mind, when I have been inspired (generally at 3am or when I’m doing the grocery shopping, I find), that I remember enough of to get a start on.
The thing is, just the act of writing is beneficial. I find it’s easier to edit and re-write a scene than it is to start it from scratch, even when there are a lot of changes to be made. After all, if you’ve already done it and you think it doesn’t work, then at least you know now what not to do with it. And of course, the more you write, the better at it you get.
Besides, who hasn’t had a day when they start out writing what they think is rubbish, only to look at it at the end and realise it’s actually quite good? I know I can’t be the only one.
So, if you have a time set aside to write, then make the most of it. Don’t wait to be inspired. Don’t spend that time surfing Facebook or Twitter or anything else that the net might throw at you. Just do it. You never know what might come out.