O For a Muse of Fire

The funny thing about inspiration is that sometimes it forgets to show up. You could sit in front of your computer for hours just waiting for a singing telegraph to arrive at your front door handing you a card full of all the wonderful ideas you know you’re capable of writing about. Waiting for inspiration isn’t like writer’s block because writer’s block means you can’t come up with anything to say; waiting for inspiration means you’re unhappy with what you do have to say.

As a writer, or anyone really, inspiration seems to be this unattainable light that we feel should be shed upon us when we sit down and try to crank out that 300 page novel or 200 word flash fiction. We have ideas, but none of those ideas seem just right or worthy enough to be blurted out onto a word document. No, the words we have to write need to be perfect and come from some mysterious muse in the universe that will aid us in our creativity. Here’s the thing though, if you have a story in your head even if you don’t think that it’s well thought out or interesting enough, write it. Sure, the story may still be awful after it’s put on paper, but at least you have a place to start. I know that for me, simply writing down whatever story is lingering in my head helps me come up with better ideas. I might create one line that could be lead to something more interesting or it could be nothing. Either way I’m writing and the only way to come up with better material is to release your thoughts and see where they take you.

Inspiration might never come in the way you want; you might never get that singing telegraph or beam of light that shines down on your computer while the “Hallelujah Chorus” echoes in the distance. Sometimes inspiration comes and we don’t even notice it. Maybe it shows up after you write a sentence that leads you to write another and another until you have a paragraph that could serve as a base for a good, solid story. Maybe it shows up in a song that you hear on the radio or a quote that you read in a book. Either way, inspiration isn’t something you should be waiting on before you begin to write because who knows how long it will take to come or if you’ll even notice it when it does. Write whatever stories come to your mind and remember that they don’t need to be perfect. If anything use those smaller ideas as practice or as building blocks and see if you can turn your little thoughts into something amazing. Once you do this, you’ll find your muse even if it’s not singing in your ear as you type.

Get out there, keep writing, and see where those small ideas take you.

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