Writing a Novel? Don’t Wait for Inspiration 


There are lots of people who claim they want to be a novelist, and expect to receive a nicely-wrapped package of inspiration on the porch before they start writing. The chances of that happening, as any professional author will tell you, is like wishing your pet cat could do the laundry.

Writing a manuscript is hard work. It’s a daily grind to produce something… anything, even if it’s junk. A professional writer never puts off a writing project because waiting or depending on inspiration is a costly affair. You can’t afford to wait for ideas, you have to find it. The only way to unveil those ideas inside of you is to write every day.
It helps, of course, if you have a theme or a plot in mind. You could start with a sentence before working towards a paragraph after which you take pride in completing a page. And voila! Before you know it — a complete chapter would have been written. From then on, just keep working to generate another chapter and another. You might even arrive at a dead end at some point, and you’re not sure what to do next. This is where you force something to happen because you can’t sit around brooding. Find a solution, look at the story from different angles or search for loopholes to get out of the snag. Rewrite if you must. The point is, keep working.

Some people never get around to writing because they are always wondering what to write about and when they should write. They are also looking for the perfect condition, mood and weather. If self-motivation doesn’t work for you, try creating a roster to encourage a consistent daily habit of writing. It’s like brushing your teeth. You have to do it.

During the process of writing, expect days of epiphany and days of frustration. It’s part and parcel of the craft. If your mental faucet feels clogged — leaving you to stare idly at the blank page — take a break. Travelling, for example, encourages synapses in the brain. There are other things you can do to find your writing prompts to keep you creative — go fishing, swimming, meet people, read other people’s novels, learn to cook a new dish — anything you like. Then come back with new found zest.

For me, there’s one particular quote about writing I like to remind myself why I should never put things off until the morrow. It helps to put me on the right track, and it reads: Waiting till you feel like writing is like waiting for a train at an abandoned station.

I wrote that. Says it all, doesn’t it?

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