Jack London once said that “you can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” And I think that is very true. When writing, I fall into the habit of waiting for inspiration to hit me before I allow myself to write. That is the excuse I use, that I can’t write that scene yet because I haven’t been inspired yet; haven’t listened to the right song, haven’t read the right book, haven’t experienced life in the way that I need in order to find the words that I need in order to describe the scene I have already created in my head just the way that I want to. And I have learned as I have tried to live up to myself calling to be a writer (ya know, by actually writing) is that this isn’t necessary the case.
I mean, sure, you can definitely be inspired to write something and then you can’t wait to find a pen or laptop fast enough, you can feel the words just dying to pour right out of you. But just because you don’t feel like writing or aren’t “inspired” to write doesn’t mean that you can’t. Or that if you try, that what you will write will be bad.
I will always believe that the editing process is the hardest process when writing a novel. As I have tried to go through this grueling process, I have tried over and over to edit the beginning of my novel but it has come to no avail. I just haven’t been able to get myself into editing the part of the book that I spent the longest trying to write. So today at work I had a 12 hour shift and some time to kill. So I figured, perfect time to write. Not the most ideal environment with the phone call interruptions and whathaveyou, but hey, better than not writing, right? But I just could not bring myself to open up the first pages of the novel again. I have grown tired of trying to figure out how to make them better, how to make them more interesting. All the action happens later in the book. Then it hit me. Editing isn’t like reading. I don’t have to start at the beginning and go chronologically through until the end.
Who’s to say that I can’t start at the end?
So that’s what I did.
Today, I spent a good four hours working on the last chapter and the epilogue of my book. It prolly would have taken half that time without the interruptions associated with my job (but hey, those gotta come first, right? And that’s what you get for trying to write on the job but I digress) but I cannot even describe how pumped that I am with the final chapter. I rewrote quite a lot of it but the main parts of what I originally wrote are still there. And I don’t mean to toot my own horn but man, that last chapter is something else. By the end of it, I actually stopped looking through my editor’s lens and was interested and invested like a reader should be, emotionally involved. And I thought that was cool. And it gave me hope that maybe, if I stop dilly-daddling and start actually putting in the work, maybe I can make this book a book worth reading after all. The story is there, believe me. I just got to be able to tell it.
I think I wrote some of my best parts today with this final chapter and guess what? I was totally unmotivated and uninspired to write this morning. I had absolutely no desire to write and just wanted to spend the day watching Netflix or reading the latest book that I’m invested (Scarlet by Melissa Marr; about half way done and completely loving it). Yet I wrote some of my best work today. And I think I learned something from that.
Just because you don’t feel motivated to do something doesn’t mean that you can’t prove to the world — and to yourself — that they’re wrong. You can do great things even when you don’t feel like giving 100%. Giving 40% is better than giving nothing and watching the world pass you by. And if you can do something amazing even when you aren’t feeling your best, imagine what you can do when you feel like you can take on the world?