On inspiration

I don’t believe in inspiration, and my muse just scoffs at the idea. “Just bleed,” she said. She is a sucker for Hemingway, I should have known. She just went out on the back porch to smoke a cigarette. Lucky for her imaginary entities can’t get lung cancer. Inspiration is just another word. Whenever I write, there is a nudge in my gut about something, but that something often has little or nothing to do with what I might be writing about on any given night. I am dead sure that I am not the world’s best writer, but I know I am a thousand times more prolific that 99.9%of the rest of the world. Why should I care about who might be better than me–there is always someone with better style, more profound ideas, great poetry, or a more intricate philosophy or world view. Yet, most of those people are waiting for inspiration that will never come. Waiting for inspiration is a lot like waiting for Godot. You can wait, but the wait will be eternal,melancholy, lonely. Writing is more like mowing the lawn than most would think.Writing is a deliberate self-conscious act in which the writer must put aside his own image while creating something new. Whether a writer fails or succeeds cannot be the criteria for writing anything. Writers will never be able to predict their success or their fall into oblivion. Inspiration is a mirage, an excuse, a straw man that really doesn’t exist in any shape or form. All of our ideas–good, bad, or ugly–float up out of sub-consciousness, rumble around our brain pan before exiting onto a screen, or in more folkloric fashion, onto apiece of paper. Regardless of what one writes about, the muse is working overtime to pile up the nouns and verbs, images and tropes, motifs, metaphors and similes. All writing is essentially always a series of metaphors that pileup like drunken sailors while trying to climb Mount Everest in jockey shorts. Writing is hard, but not because of a lack of inspiration. Writing is hard because writers are afraid that someone might not like their choice of adverbs.My muse says that the best way to write is to turn off the internal editor–that OCD editor that sits behind your eyes and criticizes every word,every period, every strangely alliterated phase–and just let the words flow. Set them free. Yet just doing it once is not enough. You are only a writer if you continue to write on a regular basis. From time to time, you might come up with a sentence that really sings, that reflects your interest in life’s bigger questions,, its most profound questions. Nevertheless, the object of writing has never been to resolve anything. The object of writing is to discuss the problem and recognize that some questions, life’s big questions, don’t have answers, only discussions. In the end, a writer who waits for inspiration is not a writer at all. Only those who write find inspiration because they are not looking for it. As the words pile up, the creative process begins to reach critical mass, thoughts pop like lightening, creating new words, new thoughts, new ideas. Images dance through the discourse, rhetoric blossoms, and before you know it, you have a new piece of literary art, which may delight, teach, amuse, provoke, inspire, or question. It all depends on the writer dismissing their self-doubts and forging ahead, or as my muse says,”just bleed.”