F*ck inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs. I’m speaking purely as someone who hopes to have a long, successful career as a writer. I can’t wait around for some muse to knock on my door with a manuscript in tow.
I believe in hard work and persistence—the two gods I pray to every night as I open my laptop in search of the right words. I believe in writing something daily—a blog post, a journal entry, a phrase from an earlier conversation—so I can keep that energy close to the surface. One of the nice things about participating in online communities such as Sunday Scribblings or Poetry Thursday is that I am constantly examining and re-examining my emotions. Rarely when I write a poem do I feel like I’m starting from scratch.
Also, I believe in the time that I spend away from my family to indulge my artistic expression. In fact, I think I am a better wife and mother because of it. Those weekend hours stolen away to write at Starbucks or late nights hunched over my desk goes way beyond being passionate. Yes, it’s true that writing is a journey. Yet, most days, my journey is the equivalent of chasing a mirage—and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Today I was rereading an article from the latest Poets & Writers magazine, writer and psychologist Susan Schnur was quoted as saying, “We live in a culture that doesn’t always value a writer’s need to write.” I don’t stay awake until midnight writing or wake up at 5 a.m. because I’m inspired. This is something I have to do. And in the process, I’m creating my own definition of what it means to be a writer. Unfortunately, the idealistic notion of inspiration does not fit into the picture.