Inspiration in The Time of Doubt

The past few days have been full of inspiration.

I had been suffering from Multiple Writing Style Disorder for a while, and I needed to stop and think about what I wanted out of my writing.

I also found myself reflecting on what–if anything–of myself I was putting into my work. You know the old(ish?) adage “write what you know”? Well, I realized that there was a bit of distance between the world I was creating and my own life. So, I decided to dip a bit of my soul into it–nothing too involved but just enough to connect with my work. It’s only been a couple of days since I tried it, but so far, I like it.

The main source of my recent quest for self-discovery was a blog post about J.K. Rowling’s writing process. It’s been awhile since I read the Harry Potter books; I have a reading list a mile long, so I didn’t really have time to revisit a series that I’d read multiple times already. But for some reason I decided to Google her writing process to see if I could poke a sharp stick at my Muse, and I came across the aforementioned writing process blog post. It’s contains a brief collection of Rowling quotes that you should check out if you’re a fan of her work:

Honestly, it isn’t anything ground-breakingly original, but then again a lot of profound advice isn’t. Whether it’s about writing, attaining happiness, setting goals in life, or just how to deal with disappointment, sometimes the best advice reminds you of what you already know either from experience or intuitively. Hearing (or reading) someone else express it can be enough to jump start your brain and heart.

The pearl of wisdom that stood out most for me was keeping in mind who I was writing for. I noticed that I was thinking of my imaginary readers a bit too much. Sure, you want to have an idea of who your audience is, but in the end, what matters most is that the story you tell is one that you enjoy writing, that you would enjoy reading, that you would be proud to publish, not simply the one that will sell the most copies. I had to let that sink the past few days, and I’m much happier for it.

Well, that’s all I wanted to share this time. Time to get back to writing! I hope everyone out there remains (or becomes) lucid, inspired, and unshakable.


8 comments on “Inspiration in The Time of Doubt

  1. Great post Mike. Sometimes we have to step back and re focus. Remember why we do this. I did read a quote the other day about the whole “write what you know” adage. Don’t get to hung up on it, after all we are fiction writers. It’s our job to make up stuff, too.

    • Thanks, Sydney. I hear you about not getting hung up on putting myself into my writing. I guess the “myself” that I want to put into my work is a passionate attitude more than events that have happened to me (I don’t want to write a biography here.Not even I would want to read that. :P).

      Writing is so multi-faceted. I learn more about it every day.

  2. Umm, I want to get this image tatted on my ass. I love it.

    And hells yes, I actually didn’t start to really enjoy writing until I started writing stuff that I’d enjoy reading. If we’re keeping in fashion with quoting semi-intelligent women, this approach to writing reminds me of a concept/quote from Jane Fonda’s autobio. She said some shit about always being the detached observer and how women are better at this because we’re always the object of the gaze. So I say, cut off your nads if you want to become a more reflective writer.

    But I’m glad that you’ve become inspired and lucid. I do love reading your novel excerpts, my fellow sunflower seed eater;) Keep on keep keeping on (this is a song from the show Ghost Writer).

    • Ghost . . . Writer . . .

      Why aren’t we best friends in real life?

      Who sang that song? Lenni? Gabby? Samuel L. Jackson (who was Jamal’s uncle)?
      Fun/Horrendous fact: I created a Ghost Writer team in 3rd grade. I also never got laid in elementary school. I feel the two are connected somehow.

      Thanks for the words of encouragement. I’ll think about becoming a eunuch. Maybe I’ll sit on my nads to see if that helps first.

      • I’m not going to talk to you anymore unless you start a humor blog…

        Seriously, are you flattered that the first thing I did when I got home was read your comments. There are like 5 people in this universe who make me LOL, and you’re one of them. Ugh, Spaniards are so sneaky sneaky…

        WTF, Jamal’s uncle was Sammy L.???!! Mind blow!! Ghost Writer was the sole reason why I wanted to live in NYC when I was little. I dreamed about that city. You’re living the dream…

        And I didn’t get laid in 3rd grade- not until I lost my baby fat…that was last year. So yeah, keep on keep, keep-keeping on…

  3. Epic share, Mike. I love this quote most because I’m a logic nut: “I loathe books that have inconsistencies and leave questions unanswered. Loopholes bug the hell out of me.” I think you’re quite right, writing for yourself beats writing for someone else every time. Don’t forget about them, but don’t sacrifice your writing for them either.

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