Prolific Writers Don’t Wait for Inspiration to Hit. They Will it Into Being.
Being a prolific writer is difficult. Writing is hard on its own. Becoming prolific at it is damn near impossible if we’re waiting on inspiration to come. Prolific writers will inspiration into being. If you want to become prolific at writing, you must mimic their actions.
“Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. “I write only when inspiration strikes,” he replied. “Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”” (Steven Pressfield, The War of Art)
Prolific writing is a choice. And with choices, you have immense control over them. Writing is a process. And processes are things that we can control, because they follow a sequence of steps. Writing is no different. So how do we make the choice to write even when inspiration doesn’t strike us? How do we will it into being?
We choose to be prolific writers by accepting our limitations and acknowledging that we’re going to fail sometimes. Failing is defined as “not showing up.” It isn’t defined as publishing a less than stellar article that no one reads. Reframing “failure” in this light places a lot more control into the individual. It becomes less about what the world tells us, and more about how we internalize our own work ethic.
“The amateur believes he must first be inspired and then sit down to write. The professional knows that writing is a process. He puts his butt in the chair and starts typing.” (Ray Bradbury)
We become professionals by choosing to do so. We become professionals by deciding to sit down every day and write. We will make mistakes. Hopefully, we will also learn from those mistakes.
Here are three tips to will inspiration into being:
- Writing is a process. Writing at specific times in the day and writing for a specific amount of time are ways to make that happen. Figure out what time works for you. Some people love mornings. I am a night writer.
- Writing comes with failure, but we must choose not to feel bad about it. Writing often has more to do with how much one writes than what one writes (in terms of quality).
- When in doubt, just write. Journal. Write about your day. Write about how frustrating writing is. Write about how helpful writing is. There is always something to write about. You can even write about how there is nothing to write about. Chances are, most people have felt that way and it would be the most relatable thing you can write.
- Understand that inspiration may or may not happen. I’ve published over 50 articles since the new year and inspiration hit me about 10% of the time. The biggest thing that kept me publishing was sitting down to write.
Becoming a prolific writer is hard. It’s even harder if you only wait for inspiration to strike before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). The truth is, most prolific writers don’t rely on inspiration — they create it. By mimicking the actions of these masters of words, you can make writing a regular part of your life, and eventually become as prolific as you desire. What helps you write? Do what works for you, whether that means setting a daily word count goal or reserving certain times of day specifically for writing. Start small and gradually increase the amount of time you spend writing until it becomes second nature. Before long, you’ll be churning out masterpiece after masterpiece.
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