Finding Inspiration Through Conversation

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Digital Painting WIP - Naomi

Digital Painting WIP – Naomi

Technically, I’m not sitting and waiting. I’m digital painting. Still, it’s a case of me not writing because I’m inspired to do something else.

I’m the type of squirrel who uses her half hour of free time a day to indulge in pursing the passion of the moment. That doesn’t make me a very good role-model. I read fellow blogger Sarah Brentyn’s post about how the boot-camp approach to writing overwhelms some people. I don’t get overwhelmed. I’ve just got too small of an attention span to feel obligated to stick to one thing. I don’t let myself feel bad because I know myself enough to know I’ll get back to it if it’s important to me.

When it comes to writing, I want it to be inspired, to stem from a scene that plays vividly in my mind, to have me voicing dialogue in the car on the way to work (everyone does that, right?). I don’t want it to be forced because I’m obligated to get down words when I could be adding detail to my current digital painting WIP.

In the past two days, I’ve had a wealth of writing inspiration. I got ideas for one POV from a writing buddy in Taiwan after I stalled out. I chose a direction for a character in book 4 after chatting with my friend Dani. I figured out how to set up this character direction starting in book 2 after talking with my sis-in-law last night. This gives me more content and a greater role for a book 2 POV character I was struggling with. BAM! Inspiration! Guess who is back to writing?

I love analyzing people’s opinions. So what’s yours? Are you adamant that you must write every day? I’m not talking about taking breaks because of stress. Do you feel disdain towards the people who talk about writing, but struggle to find time to get words down every day? Does the expectation that you must write every day affect you negatively if you don’t achieve it? Do you shrug and say different people have different processes?

P.S. Don’t forget today is the last day to pick up The Ancient for only 99 cents!

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

36 thoughts on “Finding Inspiration Through Conversation

  1. I ‘try’ to write daily but… I think im more of a sporadic writer… deadlines really get my pen to paper though. I think to each their own. If we continue to worry about others then we won’t have time to worry about ourself.

    • Heh, yeah, deadlines tend to send me into panic mode, and then nothing gets done. 😀

  2. It’s great if you’re not writing because you’re inspired to do something else. Look at all the writing inspiration you’ve gleaned from it. That makes you a great role model.

    I feel a lot of pressure to write every day, and I try to do it, but some days it just works out better than others. Guess I need another creative outlet!

  3. I’m not adamant about anything in life. I say if something makes you happy and doesn’t hurt someone else, go for it. If the creative outlet changes from moment to moment, but leaves you feeling satisfied, isn’t that more important than forcing yourself to write X number of words?

    Love that book by King. I read it in a few hours. That book gave me the full appreciation for the craft. It’s not easy and requires a lot of work.

  4. Yes, I run through dialogue and narrative while I’m in the car. It’s why I keep a digital voice recorder in the glove box all the time. 🙂

    I try to find time to write everyday-slow writers like me need every minute we can get-but I don’t get down on myself if I don’t. I only get down when a week has passed and my chapter still sucks as much as it did a week earlier.

  5. I don’t write every day but I try to keep to a schedule of writing when I can. I know I can write most days on the bus the way home from work, and usually twice a week on my lunch break. I can also do a night or two a week if my wife is working late and the kids are agreeable and go to sleep. You gotta grab the moments when you can.

    If I miss a block here or there it’s not the end of the world, but if an extended period goes by without writing (say a week or two) I start to get really antsy, which is what happened to me in the Fall. It’s not so much I’m afraid of missing a deadline, but I need to feel like I’m productively moving toward something. Otherwise I get squirrely, and not in a good way. 😉

  6. Love that quote, and enjoyed the book too!

    I used to be adamant to write everyday… But life has gotten in the way the last little while. I’m trying to get back into the habit! But I’m constantly thinking about it!

  7. Yeah, everyone is different. I made a goal to work on my writing every day whether it is editing, drafting–or betareading which help me hone my own skills.

  8. I don’t write most days and it kind of drives me nuts. I’d love to be writing but it’s hard to make myself if the inspiration isn’t there, or if I’m too tired or have no time. But I do think everyone works differently. Things like deadlines and word counts have never worked for me, for example. I just wait for the inspiration to strike, but it isn’t always so generous, unfortunately.

  9. I don’t write everyday, though I can’t go more than a couple of days without working on something, even if it’s just scratching down a random idea. Admittedly, I’m not sure if I’m burnt out and having to force my way through this round of editing or I’m just not ready to let go.

    As for others, they work how it works for them. I don’t know how the people in my group sit down and have their set amount of words to write everyday – I can’t do it. I work on what I work on and call it good whether that was 5 words or 5K.

    My characters are always doing something in my head though. I’m afraid I might scare my husband sometimes.

  10. I don’t write every day. Unless blog posts and comments count.
    I’m a planner so a lot goes into that phase before I begin writing. I have to see it all first. Beginning to end. Then I can sit down and crank out the words. Well, as fast as I can crank at 350 words per hour…

  11. I don’t shrug, but everyone has different ways of becoming inspired and writing. I try very hard to write something every weekday. Weekends are a bonus if I manage to get time to write. And yes, it’s totally normal to do that in the car. I play out scenes with the cat!

  12. Indulging in the passion of the moment is the way to do it I used to be the type who believed you had to write everyday, but now theres’s many responsibilities of bring a writer that I’m happy as long as I did something related to my writing career.

    I love that work of Naomi!

  13. Like WritingNut said above, for me, work and stress get in the way sometimes and I don’t feel inspired to write every day. But, I do think about it a lot. I always have stories and blog post ideas floating around in my head. The problem is trying to fish them out when I have a keyboard or a notebook in front of me; that’s when my writer’s block often occurs, lol. I would have to go with the thought that different writers have different processes because we are all in different stages of life.

  14. Stephen Tremp

    Loni, I write pretty much every day. I’m going through edits of my four books and yep, sure enough, I’m still finding those dreaded typos. Arrghhh!!!

    Stephen Tremp
    http://www.stephentremp.com

  15. I’d very much like to be able to write every day, but… Well, sometimes, the dark days hit hard and I can’t even think about writing, and weekends are out unless I find a way to install some sort of soundproof bubble… But I try. Sometimes it’s useless and sometimes it sparks a whole new thing.

  16. I have days where I need to get away from my writing, although I try to scribble even just a thought most days. Seems to go in waves/cycles – when I’m so locked into a story that I have to finish at least the scene or chapter. I’m a plotter but that doesn’t drive me every day.

  17. The only thing that stays constant for me w/writing, is knowing that I’ll constantly be changing how I feel about it, lol! Some days I force myself, other days it flows. Sometimes weeks go by and I’ll be lucky to get in two paragraphs. Ah well! And great painting wip!

  18. You need to do what works best for you and your creativity. At the moment, I’m letting my novel and its people stew in my mind – scenes flashing like movie clips, music twisting into theme songs, etc. I jot notes, daydream, imagine. I’m enjoying the process. 🙂

  19. I really try to write everyday and I used to feel guilty for not doing so. Lately, I’ve become okay with the fact that the mind needs a break too. Sometimes my best work comes after I’ve taken a day (or two) off.

    Great digital painting!

  20. I’m at the revisions stage but been to busy with editing the work of others to work on mine. I’m just going to shrug it off. I’ll get back to it soon.

  21. Everyone has different approaches to writing, even the professionals. The only thing that matters is finding what works for you. (And being willing to occasionally try new things.) I love doing art too. It relaxes me. I love your slinky woman pic! 🙂

  22. I try really hard to write every day but sometimes it doesn’t work out. My writing time is generally from 5-6.30 am on weekdays and sometimes it takes that long to wake up! It does depend on how inspired I am and whether I’ve had scenes playing out in my head to write down. Having another creative outlet sounds great. Your painting is cool!

  23. Hi Loni!

    I’ve been seeing your comments on a lot of blogs I frequent, so I thought I’d stop by.

    It’s funny this is the first post of yours I read. I recently wrote a post titled “Writers, we need to stop saying this,” about how this adage that WRITERS WRITE, especially the implied or actually spelled-out demand that it be every day, is damaging for so many.

    A lot of people thanked me for saying what they’ve long been thinking, but the people who didn’t agree…wow. You would have thought I’d suggested murder or worse.

    Writers should be able to write whenever they damn well feel like it. Not everyone is cut out for daily writing sessions. Like you said, if it’s important, you’ll get back to it. I don’t believe in looking down on people who are struggling. That would say more about me than it does about them and their so-called lack of progress.

  24. I believe that everyone’s writing methods differ from everyone else, and that one way isn’t better than another. As long as the projects get done.

  25. I believe everyone has to find what works best for them. Before I started writing with publication in mind, I wrote almost every single day for several years (online roleplaying games and fanfiction). Then, I became a spurt writer. I’d write a lot one month and spend the next writing very little, if anything. Since July, I’ve been writing every day. Part of me wants to see how long I can keep it up, even though I know I don’t have to. Even on bad writing days, I feel accomplished to get a few words down.

  26. I write when I write, and don;t when I don’t :p I think the pressure so many people put on it about how often someone needs to write, or how many words, etc. has a negative impact on a lot of people – I have several writer friends who struggle with writer-self-esteem and that is always the number one issue they cite “But I can’t be a real writer because I don;t write everyday/don’t write enough words/don’t carry a notebook around/am not always spouting ideas” etc etc. I don’t have a “writer’s notebook”, I don’t buy piles of books telling me how I should write, I don’t write every day, and I m still a writer, just as anyone who writes is a writer. I also don;t take photos every day, but I am still a photographer, and I don’t draw every day but I am still an artist and… LOL!
    sorry for the rant, this is one of those topics that light a fire, so to speak. I spend too many hours of my life trying to reassure people who are hurt by the “writer standards”. As you said, if it is important, you’ll get back to it, even if it sits for awhile, and frankly I have read some books that should have sat for a bit because maybe the authors would have thought better about some of it, LOL!
    Good post!

  27. Sarah

    I think your you’re a great role model. You do what makes you happy. And you have many talents. (Just saying.) I’d love to write every day, but it’s not possible at the moment. I do write blog posts (as you mentioned – thank you 💕) but I have priorities with health and family that make butt-in-chair, hours-long sessions impossible. And I have to start accepting that instead of being beaten down by all the articles out there telling writers that they don’t really want to write if they’re not doing it every day blah blah…

    • Sarah

      That extra ‘your’ was added by the computer gremlins. 😈

  28. I used to write every day, because that’s what I did. Since I started a new job, I’ve done very little writing. Just haven’t found a rhythm or the energy yet. But I’m giving myself a pass this month because of that big life adjustment. I like to have inspiration too. I’m searching for some for a character in a short at the moment. Then I need to get back to my novel. Soon. I’m not worried either.

  29. I try to work on plots and the like every day, but it doesn’t always work out. >_< I've had a rough time of things this year, and so I've lost some of the discipline I used to have. Things are getting better, though. But when I'm actually working on a book, I'm writing every day, no matter what. It doesn't matter what else I might have going on, nothing stops me from being in my chair at that time and getting to work. And I do that every day until the first draft is done.

  30. I’m not adamant about anything anymore. Strict rules that start with “You must” are out the window. I do what feel right at the time. If I want to write, I do.

    Congrats on that “wealth of inspiration.”

  31. I don’t write every day because of my day job, but many times when I’m on vacation I’ve been able to write every day. That stems from holding onto an idea passionately, so I’m inspired enough to write consistently.

  32. I get a serious case of the guilts if I don’t write everyday. Therefore I’m often carrying guilt around on my shoulders 🙂 But when I’m not writing, I am thinking. My mind never switches off. January and February were good writing months for me – only a small amount of guilt. But this month – hmmm. I’ve been distracted with learning about marketing and website design and have not accomplished as much writing as I had planned. But I will focus more rigidly next week so that I can achieve my set target. Have a great week.

  33. Hi, Loni,

    I’m so like you in my respect for writing. I do when I have the inspiration. Once I am into it, I can write for hours on end. But lately life has other plans for me. I NEVER beat myself up because writing shouldn’t be a chore. It should come from the heart. That is when pure beautiful writing will surface on the page.

    Love your digital Art! I am from the old school and draw and paint by hand. But I do like to download my black and white rendering and play with them in the computer. It’s amazing what you can do with all the technical “Toys” out there. LOL

    Have fun!

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