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Inspiration: A Long Wait for a Train Don’t Come

It’s 11:40 a.m. I’ve been up since 8:30. Working on my second cup of Earl Grey, waiting for inspiration to give me an idea to write about.

Just kidding. I never wait for inspiration. It never comes.

What works for me every time without fail is really quite mundane: I fire up my laptop, iPhone, or iPad and start writing. I usually have no idea what I’m going to write, but I start anyway.

Sometimes I will have had an idea come to me just as I was falling asleep the night before. And sometimes that idea is so important that I’ll get up and write it down so I can follow up on it the next day.

But most of the time, I just start writing. I don’t wait for an idea but simply start putting pen to paper (but only metaphorically: in my case, it’s pixels to screen).

Like so many other writers, I have a slew of bad habits: I drink, I smoke, and I swear a lot. Far more than I should.

But my drink of choice is tea, and my smoking is limited to a few puffs an hour from the e-cig that I used to get off cigarettes.

Maybe once every other week I’ll have a shot of tequila at our Friday night gathering, or a single glass of wine. But that’s it as far as alcohol goes.

It’s all about habits

Or routines: by developing the habit of writing every morning and incorporating it into my daily routine, I’ve forced myself to write whether or not I want to.

Like a drug habit, the more I do it the more I need to do it. I’m addicted to something I first took up as therapy. But unlike a drug habit, it won’t kill me. And as Nietzsche famously said (or would have, if he had been wise enough), “That which doesn’t kill me gives me a whole lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms and a very dark sense of humor.”

To which I would add, “That which doesn’t kill me had better run pretty damned fast!”

So as Paul Kantner once sang, “So drop your fucking bombs, burn your demon babies. I will be alive!”

Inspiration my ass. I’m gonna write something.