Inspiration versus Perspiration


Sometimes the writing comes easy. Other times, not so much. I’ve always read that you shouldn’t force it, but when you are trying to meet deadlines, what choice do you have. That’s when your writing becomes equal parts inspiration and perspiration. It’s just a fact of writing. The only other option is to just not write. I can’t accept that, although I’ve been guilty of doing just that. I’ve had to walk away for a bit and clear my head. Sometimes it was on purpose, other times I had no other choice. I’m sure you’ve been there, too. It’s the nature of the beast.

I’ve overcome writer’s block with music, with changing projects and even a few times with alcohol. Ernest Hemingway said it best in the following quote.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

I never really understood that quote until I was writing my second novel. The first one, I was still fumbling through and didn’t really have my methodology down. By book two, I knew what I really wanted and how I wanted it to go. That’s when the real work began with the writing.

Editing has always been work. It’s the part I hate. I don’t mind rewrites. They only improve the story, but editing…. it’s like taking a hatchet to your own arm. Change this, fix that, delete this…editing is taking a machete to your work. I understand that its necessary and it makes the writing better, but I still don’t enjoy that part of the process. But this article isn’t supposed to be about editing, so I’ll get back on topic.

Inspiration versus perspiration. That’s the topic. Sometimes the writing comes easy. When that happens, the story flows, the keyboard clicks, the music plays and all is right in my writing world. Other times, it’s like mental roadblocks are in place. You second guess every sentence, can’t find the flow and struggle with the pacing. It’s a nightmare. You just must power through it. If you let it stop you, you’ll never finish your story.

Good music helps. So does reading. Both will distract you from the current project. It’s always a good idea to read something when you’re either done with or getting away from your writing for a while. It cleanses the pallet, so to speak. It’s also how we continue to grow as writers. The best writers are also readers. Re-reading your manuscript doesn’t count, either. Pick up a book. Something completely different than what you’re working on. You’ll quickly discover it’s like a cool breeze in your face on a hot summer’s day.

My musical tastes are eclectic, to say the least. Some days, I’ll listen to something heavy like Rammstein or Disturbed. Other days, Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphy’s. Throw some Johnny Cash or Marty Robbins into the mix occasionally, too. Still there are the times when it might be Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata in G Minor. You never know. Don’t limit your choices. The differences enhance different moods and set the tone for you.

Just remember that when the writing gets difficult, you’re not the only one to have gone through it. We all do, on occasion. There are ways to get through it without throwing your hands in the air and walking away. Don’t give up. Only you can tell your stories. There’s an entire world out there waiting to read new stories. Who knows, yours might be the next big thing. I wish you all the luck in the world. I keep hoping my writing will get me there, too. It’s a big bookshelf out there. There’s room for all our works on it.




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