When Inspiration Flows
I set aside my manuscript for two years. Bad move. I convinced myself I was too busy to work on it. I convinced myself I would pick it up again when I felt the inspiration.
But no inspiration came.
No surprise! How could it?
I gave no thought to the manuscript, the story, the characters. No attention to writing.
My writing died on the vine.
My characters died in my mind.
Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.”
I resolved earlier this year to work on my writing.
Would the inspiration flow again? Or had I shut it off forever?
I set up a morning writing regimen.
I wrote. And wrote. And wrote.
A lot of it was bad. At first.
And then it improved. Bit by bit. Line by line.
I learned something:
When you focus, you open the door to inspiration.
We must attune ourselves to the inspiration and tune out the static. Turns out, I was my own primary source of static. I was blocking myself.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s home design, Fallingwater, is my favorite example of inspiration.
A wealthy Pittsburgh family commissioned Wright to design a “weekend home” in Bear Run, Pennsylvania. He made a site visit, listened to their suggestions for placement of the home — and immediately rejected their proposed site.
According to his apprentice, Donald Hoppen in his book The Seven Ages of Frank Lloyd Wright: The Creative Process, Wright has “an uncanny sense of genius loci,” which is Latin for “the spirit of the place.”
Wright didn’t just want the home to have a view of the waterfall.
He saw that the waterfall could be part of the home.
According to Hoppen, Wright said the “visit to the waterfall in the woods stays with me and a domicile takes shape in my mind to the music of the stream.”
According to witnesses, he drew the design in two hours.
The design seemed to pour out of him like water off the falls.
He christened it, Fallingwater.
I want what Frank Lloyd Wright had. I want genius loci for my writing.
There’s a Price to Pay
The words of my college writing professor come to mind:
When you’re stuck, just write something — anything. You can always edit it later.
I follow that advice. A lot.
I write everyday.
The inspiration exists.
And it finds me working.
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