The thing where I claim to not have anything to say, so I don’t write. The thing where I say, “I’m not inspired,” so I don’t write. Where I say I don’t have time, so I don’t write.
It’s all crap, of course. I always have something to say (you’re welcome), and time and inspiration don’t matter a good goddamn if you’re trying to become a writer. It’s the thing that frustrates me more than anything else, when I say it or anyone else says it: I’m not inspired.
Because who cares? Do you want this to be your job? Then shut up and go to work. Only a tiny percentage of very, very lucky people are inspired to go into their cubicle – or wherever – every day. Even people who love their jobs have days where they don’t want to go to work. And if you’ve got a 9 to 5, inspiration doesn’t matter. I’ve never called out of work because of lack of inspiration.
I’m at a place between pieces; that is true. I’ve finished two short stories recently, and have only revisions to do on a novel finished almost a year ago. Almost a year, people. I’ve been dancing around revisions for so long, and I haven’t gotten off my ass to send query letters out because I’m not fucking inspired to revise what could be, in my own humble opinion, a pretty darn good book.
This thing, when I do it, makes me angry. Hopefully it’ll make me angry enough that I’ll get back to it and write something. I’m terrified that nothing will come and I’ll have forgotten how to even write a novel by the time NaNoWriMo rolls around in November. It makes me angry and scared and nervous, and I just sit around and beat myself up about how I’m not writing but then I start whining inside my own head about how I have nothing to say and it’ll just be an exercise in futility and blah blah blah…
I will say this to you now: writing is never just an exercise in futility. It’s like anything else; if you want to get better at it, you have to keep doing it. No one gets good at anything by not practicing. And if you want to be an artiste, that’s fine, and I don’t care. But if you want to be a writer, someone who actually earns money for the words they put down on paper, if you want this to be your job, if you want to be taken seriously, you’ve got to sit down and put words to paper until you come up with something you like.
But, you say, you don’t like anything you’re writing.
Let’s have a reality check for a moment. Do you think Stephen King loves every word he puts down on paper? Do you think every fragmented scene, every scrap of dialogue, every sketched draft of short story makes it into the Library of Congress? Don’t be naive. Successful published authors are human just like the rest of us (though my fangirling often points to the contrary), and they write shitty stories, too. They make grammatical errors and have plot holes and inconsistencies in characterization, too. But you know what the difference is?
They’re professionals. And they will keep on writing, they’ll keep editing and revising and chipping away at the marble until the sculpture reveals itself, or the damn thing will crack in half and they’ll throw it away (or save it in a folder for some unknown future use) and dig around for another piece.
A writer’s job isn’t to be inspired. It’s to write.
Now excuse me while I shut up and do my job.