I found this graphic on Pinterest a while ago. I have no idea who made it, but I loved it. This happens to me often (thank you internet). Even if I follow links, it doesn’t always take me to the original source. Whoever you are, brilliant person who summed up my current writing experience, thank you!
It is comforting to see I am not the only person who doesn’t feel as though their creative process is working properly for them. I am well aware I am currently in the green/yellow/orange section, with my red section long behind me and the blue somewhere between grunt work and lack of productivity.
See, I have my idea. The story is there, and I have even mapped it out, giving me a directions from where I am to where I need to be. I just can’t seem to get there. I can’t decide if I am a driver who lost their keys and is therefore searching in vain for their transport method, or just a hamster on the little wheel, spinning but not getting anywhere.
So, I kill time, waiting for the inspiration to come back just enough to get me through the work portion of my day. In the meantime, I cruise the internet. I call it ‘fact checking’ but lets be honest, random internet videos and gossip pages are usually not related to any work I need to do.
We won’t talk about the binge eating. Seriously, don’t ask about the brownies. I’m not sure what happened to them, or if they were or were not delicious. (Ok, they were amazing.)
My only true defense is I don’t actually spend most of my days napping. Not always for lack of trying, but I am not a good napper. I don’t sleep well during the day.
So when does the inspiration and work come in? What brings on the ‘aha!’ moment that sends me charging to my keyboard, intent on typing away for the rest of the day? How can I make that happen more often?
I see writers who churn out book after book, some in as little time as one month writing time, and not just in November. Assuming that is an average length adult novel, of approximately 70,000 words, that is around 2300 words written everyday. At 300 words per page, you are clocking in just under eight pages a day. Yesterday I wrote three paragraphs. Yes, they were three I was proud of, but at three paragraphs a day, or around a page, it could take me close to a year to finish the novel (233 days for approximately 70,000 words).
Looking at the numbers, it begins to feel like I will never finish anything. I mean, this is just averages. I have days when I finish more than the one page. But there are also days when I only get a few words, or even nothing written. There are days when I work hard, churning out page after page, only to delete them all when I realize it wasn’t even fit to fertilize my garden. Some days I am just putting in the work, and other days I feel truly inspired.
When it all comes together, the work and the inspiration in the same moment, it is beautiful. The stars align, the planet spins just right, and all is right with my novel. It is more than inspiration, it is a magic I am honored to be even a small part of. I write late into the night, forgetting what time it is, everything I need to do. As the pages fly by I forget where I am, and even who I am. I’m no longer the boring person waiting for something amazing to happen. I am in a bigger world, a better world, and I don’t want to come back.
Eventually the moment passes, and I am back to being me. I know it will come back, but until that happens, I fill my time. I might do a little research. I think I can improve on that boxed brownie mix, if I can only find that posting on Pintrest again. And maybe a little nap, just while they bake.