Peggy Bechko: Writers Don’t Wait For Inspiration

hunting club

by Peggy Bechko

 “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London

One of my favorite quotes on writing. I don’t know how many writers still carry that image in their heads that a writer sits around contemplating until struck with a brilliant ideas at which point said writer begins to write in earnest. Hopefully not many.

I don’t know how many readers also have that same image of writers in their heads. To both camps I say, get it out. Stomp that idea to death and do it now.

Hemingway had it closer with his famous quote, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Combine that first quote above with the second and it’s something closer to what writing is all about.

Seriously, you can’t sit and wait for ‘inspiration’, you have to pursue it, look for it, grab it when it comes your way. If your muse is busy, read something that might spark an idea, take a brisk walk, play with your dog. Do something that relaxes and inspires you and throws that door open to new ideas.

Staring off into space can be you conjuring an idea, but if all you’re doing IS staring off into space, you need to get moving. Stir the pot!

Sometimes it’s as simple as tossing words onto paper, type something or write something, anything, then follow with more words. A full-blown idea just might kick in.

But whatever you do, don’t think sitting around, waiting, will do it for you. Some ideas strike out of the blue, others need to be tracked down and subdued. Because an idea doesn’t come to you easily don’t think if you simply wait long enough it will.

Part of the trick is always remaining open to new ideas and experiences; always think of the ways of the world as grist for your mill. If you’re continually ‘tuned in’ ideas flow much more easily. There really is nothing magic about the muse hitting you over the head with a fresh, new idea. You’re generating them all the time and there’s no end to strange, interesting, funny and bizarre happenings and behaviors to feed your need.

Hey, writing standing up doesn’t hurt either!

So, get up, grab a club and go after that muse.