The Pink Heart Society is happy to welcome Harlequin Medical Romance author Lynne Marshall. Take it away, Lynne!
Don’t Wait Around for Inspiration
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
I’ll tell you what really gets my juices flowing – travel, good books and movies, music, and everyday life (which includes eating and sleeping). That about covers it, doesn’t it? I’m easily inspired, but that isn’t necessarily translated to the page. Each day is overflowing with beauty and sensations, and all it takes is a flick of my eye or a turn of my ear to discover something new. We may assume that routine is the killer of magic, but it is also necessary. And fruitful. While plodding through the business of daily living, all kinds of surprises crop up. Like with miracles, we have to train ourselves to notice.
And speaking of our brains, they crave challenges. “What if” is a favorite question for writers. I’d love to see a brain scan light up after that one simple exercise. Oh, and here’s a fascinating tidbit about the importance of fiction and reading.
I don’t recommend sitting around and waiting for inspiration to strike before going to the computer and putting in your daily words. Here are a couple of quotes to explain why.
Inspiration is a selfish fleeting lover that only shows up in the mood. Who needs selfish lovers? Lynne Marshall
Don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work ~Pearl S. Buck
Forgive my audacity to include myself with a quote from the incredible author, Pearl S. Buck, but we were talking about the same thing. Writing is work, and if you’re a published author it is also a business. The world would stop if everyone waited for inspiration to do things. Inspiration is a form of fantastical thinking. It is something that young minds thrive on, but as we mature we discover that part about putting bread on the table and a roof over our head. So we must write, and we can’t wait for inspiration to do it.
What about the times we feel blocked? I refer to the Socrates quote at the top of this blog. I suggest that writing block isn’t real, but the state of feeling blocked does require examination. When I feel resistance to moving ahead with one of my stories, I’ve learned over the course of writing twenty or so books that something has been left undone in the prior scene. My brain instinctively knows it and flags it by holding me back. Until I’ve examined the chapter or scene, then stimulate my creativity by moving around (I like to walk, do aerobics and yoga) I can’t go forward. Sometimes this takes more than a day to accomplish. I don’t freak out. I know it is my process.
You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block. ~ John Rogers
When I travel or see a great movie or read a wonderful book or hear a gorgeous piece of music I am immediately inspired. But it rarely translates to words on the page. Sure it increases my endorphins and makes me feel fantastic at the moment, but that feeling fades, often long before I can get to my computer. Again, our incredible brains file these feelings away and when we do our hard work of writing, we are often surprised by the gift of those memories.
By all means, store up memories in your brain doing inspirational things, but do the work of writing to unleash those magical moments when you slip into the zone and become your story, only to look up hours later having written pages and pages. Getting in the zone doesn’t happen often for me, but often enough to get books written.
In the end, there is nothing worse than thinking up a great story but never putting it on paper. To refer to the famous Descartes quote – I think therefore I am. A book cannot exist in a brain, it cannot only be “thought” but must be written to exist. And there is nothing sadder than a book that doesn’t exist.
So go forth and WRITE! And whatever you do, don’t wait for inspiration to strike. You can quote me on that.
Lynne Marshall writes Medical Romance for Mills & Boon, and contemporary romance for Harlequin Special Edition. She is a Southern California native, has been married for a long time, and has two adult children whom she is super proud of, is a new grandmother, a dog lover, a cat admirer, a wandering walker, a curious traveler, and fellow participant on this wild journey called life.
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