Monday, February 23, 2015

Writing 101: Are You Inspired, or Are You Avoiding It?

I always say -- correction, I used to always say -- that you should give in to inspiration when it strikes. I did, after all. But now I'm wondering if I was really inspired, or if I was trying to avoid writing something else.

Avoiding It

It all started when I finished my book "Hope's Rebellion." I had known for some time that I was going to start working on a project called "What Happened to Mary Celeste?" I roughed out the first few chapters, and then I got stuck. I started working on buying a cover for the book. After all, I knew the title already, and I would need a cover. But then I started to work on the trailer, too. I would need a trailer, right? Sure I would. Soon enough, however, that was finished as well. I was still in the exact same place with the manuscript. That's when I started writing a different book altogether. I was inspired. Correction. I thought I was inspired.

I'm referring, of course, to my most recent book "Song of the Sea."  I wrote the entire thing, roughed out a cover design, made a trailer and published it. At last, the project was done. At last, I could turn my attention to "Mary Celeste." And so far, I've managed to write about three more paragraphs. It's significant because "Song of the Sea" was published in December.

So then the other night, another story began to creep into my mind. I started thinking about it in earnest. Almost before I knew it, I was doing research and writing out the outline. I was inspired.

Or maybe I wasn't. I realized, the more I wasted time with other projects, that perhaps I'm not really so inspired after all.Maybe I'm just avoiding this book.

Inspiration is tricky like tat. Sometimes it's there to distract you an lead you astray, which is exactly what I think is happening with me. Sometimes, it's okay to ignore inspiration. I got my notes together and I made an outline for that other project. It's there waiting for me, and I've learned that it will wait for as long as I need it to.

It's time for me to focus on the project I committed to. And when inspiration strikes, I'll make a note of it. But I'm not always going to give into it. If I do, I may not finish any books at all.

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