If Walls Could Talk: Keeping Your Inspiration

M.H. Norris

The other night I was lying in bed goofing off on my phone after having a rather tough discussion with a few authors. Remember that series I did a few weeks ago about the not-so-fun side of writing? Yeah, it was one of those.

Well, I was on my phone and a writing group I’m in sent a notification. Someone had sent a message talking about something and asking for advice. After a brief discussion she asked how we were and I said I was suffering from writer’s block (true) and was dealing more with the business side of things today than actual writing.

It led into a discussion and I gave a piece of advice and then realized that it was a blog post in the making.

inspiration

It’s been awhile since I used this analogy but sharing your writing with the world can best be compared to standing in a line waiting to be picked for a team in gym class. It also producing a feeling like you are sitting there naked, waiting for judgment.

Part of that is writing is personal and sharing it with the world is hard. I’ve been a part of critique groups for years and I still find it hard to share my work. The reasoning behind it changes now and then but the base feeling hasn’t gone away.

That’s part of the writing process.

What good is your manuscript sitting on your computer hard drive?

It’s not perfect?

So what?

To be honest, it’s never going to be perfect. Badge City: Notches doesn’t even have a period in the first sentence and I won an award for that book.

James doesn’t let that die though…

Far too often I see writers who aren’t ready to share their work.

“It’s not perfect.”

“I just want it to be further along.”

“I want it to be better, be closer to my vision.”

Story time with Mary Helen.

I knew someone who working on a project and instead of pushing it out in the world they kept holding off, doing revision after revision. They added characters, added new and shiny subplots.

They still haven’t made it far with that project and its been years.

Last I saw it, I didn’t recognize it for the project I’d fallen in love with. They’d shared the concept with me and it sounded fun and fascinating and I was helping them with it.

But in their desire to make it perfect, I feel like they lost their vision.

They lost what made it good, I think they lost a bit of what inspired them to start the project in the first place. In their desire to make it something people would love or find revolutionary this creator lost something.

Which is sad.

Because the concept I heard years ago had so much potential. But they lost their way.

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I question if I’m about due for another rewatch of Psych. After all, that was the show that helped inspire me to write Badge City. I heard someone once say that people are like sponges, they need to soak up inspiration before they can pour it out. And far too often, I find myself going and going and not giving myself time to remember why I write.

All I think is what’s the next book, the next short story, the next case, the next mystery, James should I lower the body count this time…

Don’t get me wrong, I still love writing.

I just have to remind myself why I write in the first place. I have to remind myself not to lose sight of that.

And remind myself that no matter how bad I feel about my work I do need to let it out into the world.

Or at least into James’ inbox.

So let me leave you with some parting questions.

Why do you write?

And what’s stopping you for sharing it with the world?