Waiting on Inspiration


Of the three of us here on Anxiety Ink, I probably have the worst habits when it comes to “inspiration” or deciding which projects to work on. You see, I have a tendency to wait for inspiration to strike, no matter what phase of writing I’m in.

As far as brand new projects go, I’ll have a random moment where I’ll see a certain scene, come up with a certain theme, or feel a character. If I think it’s gold I’ll write it down asap, depending on where I am in said moment. More than once I’ve gotten up in the middle of the night, usually when I’m having sleep trouble, and grabbed a piece of paper to scribble and scribble and scribble on until my hand grows numb because I HAD to get my ideas down. I’ve also done the idea mad dash in the lecture hall, at work, when I’m working out, and so on.

The writing-it-down part is not a very common happenstance in my life, though. Usually after the idea has struck I let it sit and fester in my subconscious before I do anything about it. My logic: if the story the initial spark lights is worth it, I’ll remember it. Details will augment, characters will surface, a plot or general beginning and end will synthesize as I wait.

As for works in progress, I write from the initial spark until I hit a dead end. Depending on the nature of the dead end, I either problem solve or walk away. My usual habit is to walk away. And wait for my brain to come up with a solution. Essentially, I wait for that second spark and then repeat the mad dash. I’ll flip between projects as I wait, writing to the dead end with each until a spark ignites.

Waiting seems to be a trend in my writing life.

Mine is an imperfect system, for so many reasons. I forget “brilliant” things and it causes a lot of nail biting, but at the end of the day that’s how I like to operate with new ideas. I find that if I’m too quick to put pencil to paper and make my ideas tangible I see the seemingly insurmountable craters that litter them. As long as they’re intangible I can build bridges that I have a difficult time doing when my ideas enter reality.

I don’t recommend this method. It’s a messy system and I’m sure I’ve lost potentially great stories because other demands in my life were front and centre and story ideas were never able to develop. And the waiting wastes so much time. So so so much time.

I will state for the record that I don’t write my blog posts this way. As soon as I come up with an idea I either type it up if I’m able to at the moment or write a few notes so I can jog my memory later. I don’t know what that says about my blogging approach or my writing in general. I’ll leave it free for interpretation.

I’d love to hear how other people operate! Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to reform me.


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