I Just Feel Like It Is Going In A Really Random Direction

It seems to me the idea of inspiration is a terrible burden, to many. A cruel one. A myth. I think people are haunted by it, as they are horoscopes that say they’ll meet a lover this week, or that there is a perfect someone out there for everyone, that maybe there is a god, but maybe not, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, Santa Claus. Maybe there is inspiration. Maybe there are just ideas. Maybe it is just the world. Maybe there really is a jolly fat man in a red suit and a beard with a gift just for you.

Maybe just go make whatever it is you are waiting for that man to give you.

I’ve got a guest post up over at Nova Ren Suma’s lovely blog, Distraction No. 99. Nova is one of the first friends I made over the internet, a talented and enthusiastic YA author who is one of the hardest working writers I know. I really admire her. Watching her grow from a popular blogger to a debut author to an experienced writer has been gratifying, and I was happy to write this post for her.

As I say in the post, I’m fairly leery of the whole inspiration thing. I prefer to look for ideas. This may seem like semantics but I feel as if inspiration suggests that what comes doesn’t belong to you and you need it to belong to you in order to do anything real with it. And you need to keep at it. I recently had lunch with the AAWW interns, and one of them asked me, “What do you think, having taught writers for a while, is the thing that makes the big difference? What separates the students who go on to become writers from the students who don’t?”

“Stamina,” I said, very quickly. Persistence is the gift that brings all the others. I know many writers with a great deal of talent who do not write. Art is not fair, it is not democratic, it has no court of appeals. Talent is not equally apportioned, but luckily it also doesn’t matter as much as stamina. There is little science to it all that is reliable except that I have seen persistence carry the day over talent again and again.

And it may be this that inspires me most of all.


  1. The last paragraph gives such meaning and weight to the dark and unproductive days. I don’t think I can hear that enough. Thanks.

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