the smell of fresh paper …

There are some lucky souls for whom the process of writing is easy, for whom the smell of fresh paper is better than air, whose minds chuckle perpetually over their own agility, who forget to eat, and who consider the world at large an intrusion on their good time at the computer.

This is possibly my favourite inspirational quote, and yet I cannot remember who wrote it. (Apologies, inspired soul. I’ll put your name up there as soon as I rediscover it.) I love the idea of ‘chuckling perpetually’ over one’s words, as if playing with a particularly sunny-natured baby. And of course a writer’s work is their baby!

This is how I want to be. This is the opposite of procrastination and the dreaded writer’s block. And who says I can’t?

pour your passion onto the page

Only write from your own passion, your own truth. That’s the only thing you really know about, and anything else leads you away from the pulse.

Marianne Williamson


And that passion! You will hear that from a lot of people who do well in things. What’s the key? The key is passion, I think. You gotta love it.

James Patterson 

And James Patterson ought to know a thing or two about success ….

But maybe James and Marianne have a point. If we writers are not passionate about our particular stories, how can we possibly expect our readers to be? I’ve read a lot of fiction, both published and unpublished, that has nothing obviously wrong with it except that it just doesn’t grab me. Is passion the missing ingredient? If we write that which we think our readers want to read, maybe that element of personal passion leaches away leaving the manuscript rather bloodless.

Perhaps this is simply another way of saying: write what you know.

i.e. Write the story you are passionate about!

blueberries for the soul

It’s supposed to be fun. Suppose you decide where it would be a treat to write – out in a park, where they can’t find you? In the back booth of a coffee shop? At the beach?  By a lake? In a bar? .… I like to have some coffee or tea or, when I’m doing heavy revision, some red wine to cool down my anxiety. Or a glass filled with blueberries and white wine. I like to play music ….

This part is all for you. You can construct a little hut for your soul with everything it needs ready at hand. Remember, it’s no big deal, but it’s a huge deal. You’re only having “fun,” but if you’re lucky, your soul, your real soul, will come out and say hi

Carolyn See, author of Making a Literary Life

Such decadence. Such bohemian indulgence. White wine and blueberries? Surely such props are unnecessary to a true writer?

Hmmm, but it does sound like a lovely idea. I’ll just have to make sure I don’t spill the wine on my computer.

I think Carolyn’s advice goes to the heart of overcoming procrastination and similar such writerly blocks. Once I have convinced myself to sit down with my computer and begin to write, I am fine. Words come, and time flies. But it’s the getting there in the first place. White wine and blueberries sounds like wonderful bait.

an injection of joy

I propose we delight in the process of writing;

delight in the imagined state of completion; delight in the mind-jumbling confusion of not understanding how to get there, …

delight in watching drafts unfolding like petals… in knowing that in this very moment, we are doing what we were put on this Earth to do – to write.

Sage Cohen, The Productive Writer

As Cohen sees it: “Discipline gets the job done. But if you are not fueling it with the right energy source, it could become an inflexible, joyless rod that you come to dread rather than anticipate.”

Sometimes I forget why I began to write in the first place. Love, wasn’t it? No, now I think about it, it was far more than mere love. More like a state of obsession, a fascination for crafting meaning out of words, an addiction to the sheer intensity of experience wrought by the creation of story. Discipline gets the job done, true. But is this just a job I am undertaking? If dry discipline is all I have to bring to the page, won’t my reader sense it too?

Cohen is right – I need to rediscover delight in my writing. Or possibly just raving obsession …

Just write. Worry about whether it’s good later.

… even great writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway needed editing. You can always go back and fix what doesn’t work. Nothing is perfect the first time out.

N. M. Kelby, ‘Taming the Beast’

The trick is to fill the page with words. Go ahead and give yourself permission to write something less-than-perfect, even absolute crap if you prefer! I find nothing more scary than the empty end of a sentence, the blank screen gaping at the bottom of my screen, and yet when I dare to read over what I’ve written the previous day, I’m often pleasantly surprised. Perhaps I can write after all. I just have to believe I can do it all over again today …

an urgent beauty

Tell me, what is it you plan to do       

With your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver, poet

I love this quote. This is big-picture inspiration, a kick in the arse if ever there was one.  If you write because you are passionate about it, because you must shape an elusive beauty out of words, then chase this wild and precious dream with all your soul.

a mission to inspire

I am a writer. I was so proud of myself when I finished my first novel. Why? Because writing is hard – or it can be. But should writing be hard? Is it just the way I am approaching it?

The muse starves if you do not feed her. I need inspiration and motivation to write. I have searched for a nice little volume to give me that boost of self-belief that I crave as regularly as caffeine, but could find nothing to fit the bill. So I have decided to create my own.  In this blog I will post inspiration-bytes from an ecletic range of sources. My aim is to aid those who fall prey to self-doubt or lack of motivation in their creative writing. I place myself at the top of the list.