At a recent workshop, someone asked why I write. I’m not sure, but I am pretty sure of what makes me want to write. I read.
So far, all of the writers I have met, published and unpublished, have one thing in common. They read. Okay, almost everyone can read. I say almost everyone because since we have been utilizing our vacation cabin in the Appalachian Mountains I have become acquainted with a few folks who don’t read, either because they didn’t want to learn or didn’t have the opportunity. I digress to say these people get along just fine and probably can read more than they think; after all, they have the great educator—television— and words like “greatest sale of the year” and “pine-sol clean” and “Viagra” cannot have escaped being committed to the spongy vastness of anyone’s little gray cells.
No, I mean writers read voraciously. Like a pile of books stacked adjacent to a bedside table while dishes scream to be washed in the kitchen sink. That kind of reading. The kind of word-appetite that makes a person panic when she’s read the final offering of her favorite author. “Wait a minute,” she says to herself. “I can write more of that series.” And she does. That’s how fan fiction takes life and how one can discover her ability to create literature. That’s Inspiration.
Another inspiration is what I call “out of the blue” meaning, one day you are sitting in a rocking chair on the porch and an idea hits you. It keeps hitting you, NCIS Gibbs style until you fire up the computer and relieve the pent-up creation.
More examples of inspiration you say? Righty-right, then. You read a short story and it triggers a long-forgotten episode in your past that flares to life and the writer inside demands it to be consigned to posterity.
Or… Someone tells you about an odd happening and you say, “Wow, that is so weird it has to be written.” Luckily that person isn’t prone to writing, so you borrow it and love the result. In fact, you submit it to a contest and win first prize. You have been bitten by inspiration.
Or…How about, you are teetering on the edge of insanity and writing saves you. Now the monster (don’t we always need conflict in our writing?) also known as Motivation.
The motivation aspect could be simplified into two parts. The first is the easy part, the drive to create and the passion to give life to your inspirations. The second is the hard part; the enforcement of discipline that many writers talk about as being instrumental to writing. All the books and most of the writers I’ve met say the same thing: you must write all the time, even if you don’t have anything to write about. You must get your body and mind accustomed to that action so it becomes second nature. Even if you just churn out crap on top of crap, you are still writing and at some point, your habitual writing and inspiration will connect.
Inspiration or motivation, there remains the girl in my brain’s attic telling me what to do, mainly to click at the computer buttons until some of the words make sentences, and then paragraphs, and then, perhaps, make sense. And I listen to her. I click those buttons every day.
Please notice the blatant omission of memoirs. That’s another post.
Patricia Crumpler is a writer and an artist with a life-long addiction to reading Science Fiction. Her space drama, “Benevolence” debuted in February of this year by First Realm Publishers.
In addition to a novella, “Sorrow Song” which features a very sexy merman, Patricia has published an anthology with her son, Christopher, and has a series of children’s stories called “Fins and Fables” volumes I, II, & III. All of her books are available on Amazon. She has had 15 short stories published in various anthologies.
Patricia lives in South Florida where her favorite hangout is the beach. Her website is Carpewordum.com. She’d love to hear from readers!