I knew I was going to regret it. Yet I did not change my mind.
Inspiration sparks from a lot of different places, and last night, my inspiration appeared in the middle of my twice-per-week, two-hour T.V-watching block (I don’t like watching T.V. very much, but there are a select few shows I can’t live without, so). But of course, I was in the middle of watching T.V. So I wasn’t going to stop doing that to get up and go write, even though I should have.
A scene popped into my head, one that would help connect a few of the loose ends I’m trying to tie together as I continue to (slowly) form the major elements that make up my novel-in-progress before filling in the gaps. At the time, it really was a good idea, and I knew I needed to write at least some of it before the inspiration driving it faded away.
Even though I was inspired, even though I knew I should jump back into my story regardless of all the other things on my mind (and, you know, T.V.), I didn’t write. That scene continued playing out in my head until I went to sleep. If the story had a happy ending, I would have woken up this morning and written it anyway, no problem.
But the moment I sat down to write earlier this afternoon, I knew the scene wasn’t going to play out the way I had dreamed up in my head the night before. I just wasn’t “feeling it” anymore. All those inspiration-induced ideas just seemed silly. I started questioning whether or not the scene belonged in the book at all. And I did write most of it, but I’m still not happy with it. Not the way I would have been if I would have followed my inspiration back to my laptop instead of putting it off.
I talk a lot here about how sometimes it’s okay to force yourself to write, and sometimes, if the words just aren’t coming to you, it’s okay to leave your writing project alone for the time being and focus on something else. But something I don’t feel I’ve covered enough yet is what to do when you are inspired, when you really need to write something down, but the timing is just wrong.
Not busyness. Not that you’re on a train without a pen and your phone is dead. I mean when you could totally get up and go write, even for five minutes, but you are sitting in front of the T.V. and it is going to take a black bear crashing through your window to get you to move.
I don’t like admitting that I’m wrong or that I’ve made a mistake, but the thing is, I still do. Because I’m human, I’m an unpublished author, I am no better than any other wannabe writer out there. I write about writing because I think, hope, others might be able to benefit from it. I don’t do it because I think I know everything or because I have all this experience. Not even close.
So I have to admit that what I did last night, not writing when there was nothing significant preventing me from doing so, was a mistake. But the thing is, I’m really, really glad I made that mistake.
Like I said, I don’t think about this kind of writing barrier as often. I tend to think about “life event” road blocks and time constraints and just not being able to get ideas out of our heads the right way. Sometimes you just don’t want to write right now, period. And that’s a problem.
And now, not only am I hyper-aware of it: I know that I never want to let anything like this happen to me ever again. And maybe I can help you overcome this problem, too, if you even realize it’s a problem (maybe it’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason why we’re not writing when we want to be).
I’m learning right along with you, do you see? This is why I keep publishing posts even though not a lot of people read them. I don’t need a big audience. I’m in it for those who want to grow as writers, and if I end up growing too, everybody wins.
I like it when everybody wins.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.
A recent graduate with a B.A. in English and a completed major in nutrition, currently seeking a graduate degree in health communication, Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and dietetics. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi (and the mastermind behind this site), Meg is an editor for College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Stone Soup. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink magazine. Follow Meg on Twitter.