Grey skies out there today, a breeze swaying the fir trees outside my window, and I'm so relieved that the hot spell is over around here.
From an Editor's Desk: A Writer Writes
Perhaps the main truth about writing that I’ve learned is that hard work is more important than talent, inspiration, or connections. In fact, for most writers, inspiration is the easy part. Ideas for stories arrive in the shower or when talking with strangers, following the news story that has everyone talking or paying attention to dreams and memories.
Of course inspiration and writing aren’t the same thing. Writing, particularly creating potent, moonglow, break-the-reader’s-heart writing, isn’t about wishing, hoping, or even a certain way of thinking. It certainly isn’t a passive mindset as in waiting for inspiration or stories that float around in the vapors, or sighing wimp-like when they don’t arrive and then drifting off into another activity. And is certainly not a romantic way of spending time, as in tucked up in a garret with disheveled hair, inky fingers and pots of coffee, wandering about the messy room, dreamy-eyed and pretending you weren’t born in Oklahoma. Or New Jersey. Or Kalamazoo.
It’s about work. And incorporating a slew of habits and techniques from seeing the world around you with keen awareness, to incorporating verbs that slice through the page, to learning how structure holds together a story, and judging your final drafts with the heartlessness of a serial killer. But it’s mostly about clear-eyed, practical habits. The practicality of duct tape and staplers, jump drives, and infant car seats.
And it’s about developing small daily actions and building them into a lifestyle. These habits are daily investments in your future. And as a person from a working class background, I want to suggest that writers everywhere adopt a laborer’s mindset toward the work of writing instead of chasing the muse.
"Forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won't. Habit is persistence in practice." ~ Octavia Butler
Keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart