On Writing – On a Process

Irritatingly,  the best ideas always seem to appear when I’ve got something else to do.

The most irritating of these times are when I’m driving. Or at work. Or doing something where I can’t get to my laptop to type up the idea and turn it into a scene.

I’ve read advice where the best way to write is to shut yourself away with no distractions and stare at a screen until inspiration hits. I will admit that I struggle with this suggestion, after all inspiration for me seems to shoot up when my mind is ticking over some other problem.

For one trying to write their ideas down, then removing all distractions can be beneficial. But to do that one must have ideas in the first place. Which is a thing I have been struggling with recently.

For me boredom does not induce inspiration. I’ve been fortunate enough to experiment with this hypothesis recently at work,  which has been a dearth of activity. If someone came and painted the walls and that was all I had to look at it would be more activity than the past few weeks.

I digress.

In these moments, forcing productive writing has been a success,  but forcing inspiration has not been so successful. Instead, I’ve found myself saving all my ideas up for my boring moments,  and then in the two or three hours I have to kill I manage to have so few directions I actually get something written down.

It’s curious how writing (or creating of any form works). Each person is different,  and trying to explain it feels a bit like trying to hold water with a sieve. In the same way I don’t think I could ever write a full plot on paper, my times of inspiration cannot be cajoled or encouraged to be anything other than they are: sporadic and ill timed.

If anything,  the last few weeks have been educational in teaching me how my own process works. There is so much advice on how to write, maybe there needs to be a bit more on understanding one’s own creative process. Maybe,  if you understand your own process,  you can make it work best for you.

And then you can be a little bit less hard on yourself. This is a lesson I am still learning. Maybe once I’ve learnt it what I write will be better. I know for sure it’ll be more creative.


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