Inspiration. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can toddle off one day in search of a ‘little inspiration’. It finds you. It’s like love, it’s like that emotional feeling you experience when you see a certain colour; you don’t choose these things, they choose you.
I spent my first thirty years feeling frustrated and completely ripped-off, not to mention helpless, that I couldn’t control the things I wanted to; what I liked, who I loved, what I enjoyed, what I treasured. And then it finally sank in; you can’t, necessarily, make those choices and be true to yourself.
My favourite colour is blue, loads of shades of different blues. When we were in California, I saw a big kick-ass truck one day and the colour stopped me in my tracks, just thinking of it now takes me back to somewhere in my childhood and I honestly couldn’t stop staring until it zoomed out of sight. My wife, bless her, waited patiently until I finished.
I wonder if I were to practice liking yellow instead, while telling myself that yellow is my favourite colour, would I eventually have the same emotional reaction as I do to blue. I’m not convinced. And to be honest, I’m not interested in trying.
What I enjoy now, in my mid-forties, is allowing all the feelings I don’t control, including inspiration, to find me. Of course I can manufacture an inspirational inducing environment; a tranquil riverside location, a peaceful day alone – just me and my laptop – but mostly I just wait and enjoy the moments when they arrive.
When it comes to writing inspiration, I do like to wring every last drop out of those times and don’t get me wrong, inspiration or not, sometimes you just have to sit your ass down, focus, and type the damn words.
We make choices within the parameters of what we like, what and who we love, and how we feel. I can no more snap my fingers and decide I want to eat chicken liver more than pizza (okay, I’ve never eaten chicken liver but I’m a bigger fan of veggies) than I can snap my fingers and decide to be inspired to write ten chapters today. I can choose to write those chapters, but they may be a slog without the inspiration. And you know what? That’s okay. I’ll just crack on being me and striving to be the best version of me I can be. Giving myself that freedom is inspiration in itself.
I’ll be dead chuffed if I write ten chapters today (it’s unlikely, we’re about to start an extension and renovation) but if I write one, I’ll be happy.
I’m working on my next novel for Bold Strokes – Identity. Luckily I’m feeling inspired.