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Someone recently told me: “If you’re not inspired, you’re writing the wrong story.”

A little context is in order first; this guy I’m talking about introduced himself as an author, though (to my knowledge) he has not yet published anything or finished a book. (And don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not criticizing him for it! I’m in the exact same situation). He said this while some friends and I were discussing writing, and one was saying that he was uninspired to write. The friend he said it to took it really hard and started doubting his passion.

And that really got me thinking. Is that true? If you don’t feel inspired as an author, does that mean that you’re wasting your time, and should look for another idea? Or just what… Wait for inspiration to “hit” again?

So as it took up a lot of space in my brain that I needed for other stuff, I decided to get more opinions from my fellow writers on Twitter (see the thread here). The replies I got were very interesting and pretty much split down the middle. Many agreed that inspiration is 100% necessary, while others argued that that’s simply not possible. At some point or other in your story, you just won’t feel the same excitement and inspiration that you did at first.

So I’m going to go out on a limb here and give my own opinion on this matter.

To me, inspiration is an absolutely necessary part of the beginning of the writing process. Writing takes so much out of you that, to me, if you’re not passionate about it when you start, you don’t stand a chance at ever doing anything with it.

To me, your inspiration needs to carry you to the point where the story takes on its own shape, and you start to feel that it’s got a life of its own. From that point, it can then carry itself but it’s going to take a lot of sweat and tears and screaming on your part.

Writing is a grueling process. I don’t think a single writer would disagree with me on this. Getting the first draft on the page is tough; powering through when you feel like you can’t and your story is fighting you tooth and nail. And then when the first graft is done, then comes the editing, the beta-readers, more editing, and doubt. Actually, doubt is usually there for the whole ride.

But for me, inspiration has to be there to begin with. It’s just too hard otherwise.

And this is what I think the people who agree with the above statement mean (sorry if I’m wrong, guys! 🙂 ). That you need inspiration to begin.

I don’t think anyone is going to feel inspired throughout a whole book. It comes and goes, ebbs and flows. Sometimes words pour out, and others it’s a struggle to get five words down on the paper. But you were still inspired to begin the story.

One person had an interesting take on things though. To him, inspiration is what gets you started, pushes you to write your first story. But as he says, one story isn’t enough if you want to make a business out of writing. You need to write more, and this is where inspiration might fail you. Because of this, he says that sometimes he writes stories he’s not inspired to write because it’s stories he thinks his readers will want to read. But even if he’s not inspired, he’s interested.

Others argued that if you write while you are not inspired to do so, it shows and your writing suffers from it.

I agree; if I sit to write when I am not in the right state of mind, no matter how hard I try, the words just don’t flow. It’s much harder work to get any words out, and those that come are the wrong ones. They don’t fit, and they don’t flow. And yet, this is the only way I know that works for me to get inspiration back. By writing. No matter how bad it is, I need to play with words and ideas, and sooner or later inspiration comes back. And when it does, I usually have to start all over.

But I don’t think you can just wait around for inspiration to find its way back to you. It doesn’t work that way. You have to provoke it, especially if you want to write as a career. If that’s the case, you have to treat writing like your job; you don’t always want to, but you should. If it’s bad, start over. Give yourself permission to write trash; you can always come back and delete it. But write.

In short, you might only keep what you write when you are inpired, but your should write even when you’re not.

Yes, it’s hard. But that’s just part of the game.

What do you think? Is inspiration necessary, or is it overrated? Do ou write only when inspired, or everyday, no matter what?

Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear!

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