Thursday, February 3, 2011

Inspiration and Discipline

"You can't wait for inspiration.  You have to go after it with a club."

-Jack London

Today, as I reflect on my creative journey, I am inspired by the London quote above.  I have often been approached by dewy-eyed novices, who ask me where I get my ideas.  The truth is, I don't know where they come from- and neither does anyone else. Anyone who says different is trying to sell you something. 

When I'm in The Zone and the ideas are flowing freely, inspiration arrives fully formed in a neat little package.  It's like taking dictation- all I have to do is listen to the little voices in my head, and write everything down.  Other days, it's not so easy.  I've got to go out and hunt it down, clock it over the head, and drag it back my lair.  It's hard, dangerous work...but it must be done.  (Ask anyone who's ever tried to meet a deadline!) 

When inspiration fails, discipline will carry you through the wastelands on its back.  Discipline is a priceless tool in any writer's toolbox.  Trying to create a writing career without it is nearly impossible.  Inspiration will only take you so far.  Could you build a house without using a hammer?

What Color Is Your Inspiration?

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