Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Finding inspiration

Every writer gets depressed, right? Maybe depression and writing are linked somehow. Maybe writers are depressed (depressing?) people, or maybe our depression leads us to write. I don't know what the link is, but every other writer I know has suffered as I have lately been suffering. It's all linked to my writing, too (of course). Everything I write lately feels DUMB, feels LACKLUSTER, feels SACCHARINE. Where are the good ideas? And why aren't they in my brain?

This is how I felt last week. It should have been a great week for writing, because I was on vacation and I got to hang around the beach (Lake Michigan) for an entire week just sucking in inspiration with a few grains of sand and the smell of water, but it wasn't. Nothing came. I spent most of my time lazing around and chatting with my siblings and their spouses. I tried to write but everything was ___________ (see adjectives above or supply similar words).

And then I read a book, a small book, by a man named Peter Selgin. I attended one of his workshops a year or so ago, and I wanted to buy one of his books then, but they disappeared too quickly into the greedy hands of my classmates. I finally broke down and ordered one a few weeks ago and then finally broke down and read it last week (in the last few days of my vacation). It's called By Cunning and Craft, and it has all sorts of PRACTICAL tips for writing fiction.
Peter acknowledges that writing is not easy, but he says that it is a craft that can be learned with diligence and determination. And guess what makes a writer better? Anyone? Anyone? Yes, that's right. Practice.
So here we go. I'm really going to do it now. I'm done whining about not having any good ideas. I'm just going to write (and I'll keep Selgin's book close at hand in case I get stuck).

5 comments:

Ron Samul said...

I also think writers need time to stew, think, move on, change, and see the world in a different way and to write something new. I wouldn't be so disappointed in your lack of work on vacation - it is all in the brain simmering right now. (Plus you will offend your family if they think that they were merely a pawn in your writing career.) Be well.

jen said...

Im so glad Im not a writer. Im not good at depression...thats my husband.
Here's hoping you find your muse!

Kir said...

Shh! Ron, I was trying to keep it a secret that they're all fodder for future writing. These lit guinea pigs READ my stinking blog and now you've let the cat out of the bag. Now they'll start looking for themselves in everything I write. THANKS A LOT!!

gretch said...

I'm long past looking for my spot in your writing (wink). But I can't believe that you have writer's block! My genious sister. Well, I suppose it will happen. Good adjectives! ha

Stacy said...

Hello! It's Stacy - Q's friend, Matt's wife....anyways, Alli led me to your blog. I know what you mean about depression and writing. I swore to Matthew I was going to delete all my blogs last night because I was in a foul mood and felt uninspired and that what I wrote was all stupid. And come to find out today that a popular website mentioned me - cool! Guess I should keep my blogs going for a while. :)