by LTWF reader A. Barone
“You can’t wait for inspiration; you have to go after it with a club.”
That quote by Jack London was first told to me by my grade 12 ‘Writers Craft’ teacher on the very first day of school. As a class we discussed what it meant and came to the conclusion that it meant that when you’re a writer you can’t just sit around waiting for inspiration to hit you on the head like a lightning bolt. Instead you have to actively sit down to write otherwise you might never get anything written at all. It’s a sound theory that seems to work, but it’s never sat well with me.
You see I’m one of those writers that tends to wait until my muse (or inspiration) decides that it’s time to write. When I have an idea in my head and it’s just screaming to get out I will write and write until the inspiration’s all dried up. Usually that leaves me a couple pages into (or sometimes halfway through) a novel. After that, with the hard grind of novel writing ahead I really do have to go after inspiration with a club because if I don’t, I’ll abandon the project and it will never get finished. There are hundreds of partially started novels in my writing folder, most of which will never see the light of day. It is quite rare for me to be fully inspired from the beginning to the end of a story but it has happened on occasion and when it does, I’m a very happy camper.
The notion of inspiration spurring on a writing spree is something that you hear about quite often. We all know the story of how JK. Rowling came up with her story while riding the train and how Stephanie Meyer dreamed the meadow scene and built the entire Twilight world (for better or worse) around that dream. Why even LTWF’s own SJ Maas came up with the idea for Queen of Glass (soon to be published) while listening to a piece of music. Inspiration, it seems will strike anyone, anywhere, at any time.
So what is it like for you? Do you let the winds of inspiration carry you through, allowing the words to fly right off your fingertips, or do you have to barge after inspiration with a club and wrench each word onto the page? For me, I tend to write best when I’m inspired however I also find that when I have to go after it with a club the characters tend to take on a life of their own and lead me down pathways that I never imagined. But that is another topic that’s already been touched on.
Angelica Barone is a writer at heart who has just graduated from Teacher’s College and although she doesn’t have a placement (yet) she’s excited for her summer job at a local jewellery store. She is known to be working on several projects at once, all of which can be found on her fictionpress page. You can also follow her on her everyday blog and her writing blog.