Sometimes when I sit down to write, I don’t immediately know what to write about. I distract myself with all sorts of activities – answering e-mails, scheduling meetings, or even ordering stuff on the web – anything to avoid the blank page staring back at me, taunting me. I seem to wait for that moment of inspiration before I can start putting words to page (or e-words to e-paper). As I’ve kept the commitment to setting aside time to write, however, I find myself spending less time avoiding it and more time actually writing. If I don’t have a topic ready at hand, I’ll ask one of my writing companions to suggest something. While I may not always take their suggestions, it is enough for me to begin to put words on a page. From that, something will emerge that sounds cohesive and coherent. At least, that is my intention. And once the words begin to flow, inspiration seems to find me, as well, in a turn of phrase or a story that illustrates the point.
To let inspiration find you while doing your work instead of waiting for inspiration to begin it is a bit counter-cultural. The commitment to practice something consistently, to let things emerge, is sometimes lost in an “instant world” where we no longer have to work for things. We can get instant credit, on demand TV, meals in minutes, instant messaging, one-minute managing, et cetera, et cetera. Why get a two-year master’s degree when you can get a mini-MBA in four to six weeks?
Some things, however, don’t happen in a “mini-minute.” Often a sustained effort over time is the only thing that leads to being inspired. I find that the more I keep writing, the more I get inspired. And the easier it becomes to write. The words appear on the page and I feel a sense of accomplishment that keeps me going. I no longer wait for that moment of inspiration to begin.
So…I guess that also means I need to quit waiting to be inspired to clean my house and just get on with it.