Finding Something to Write About

Sometimes I struggle to find inspiration. This blog is pretty sparse on entries because of it. Sometimes months go by without a post and I don’t even think of the blog at all. Sometimes I work on my fiction instead, because the topics I think of to write about are too complex or hot-button, and I don’t have the patience to write about them thoughtfully yet.

I’ve only rarely forced myself to write a post, and considering the paucity of my blog, it shows. So now, I’m trying to post with more frequency, even if I can’t think of anything to write about. It’s like trying to squeeze water from a stone at the moment.

But you can’t wait around for inspiration, especially if you want to grow as a writer. Do you think Stephen King or John Green waits around for the muse to strike? No! The writer hunts their muse, constructing elegantly worded traps in hopes that she will find something she likes enough to stay. The writer pushes through the dusty undergrowth of their own mind, searching for the elusive muse, the light-footed white hart.

The touch of magic that changes a collection of words into a story or an article. The unifying theme, the flash of the divine. If you have to look for it, it’ll be almost impossible to find.

Frustratingly, I often begin writing projects only to run out of steam halfway through and I’m unable to finish. Inspiration strikes like a hit and run and leaves me with half a story. It’s like waking up from a dream you wanted to finish, but when you go back to sleep, it’s gone. Even if you try to remember it, the flow of it, you don’t know where it was headed.

I’m in awe of writers who manage, miraculously, to finish their work, and even more impressive, they’ve done this more than one time. I wish there were some 7-step plan I could follow or guru I could study with in order to be able to do it, too. Unfortunately, it’s not something I can learn in an online course or a seminar class – writing isn’t a skill you can just pick up offhand.

Recently, I was told that if you write, even if it’s just one story, even if you’ve never finished anything, you’re a writer. I would love to consider myself a writer, but I struggle with impostor syndrome when I can’t finish a project, or when I sit for hours and days working on a blog post that feels like it’s never going to come together.

If only I could finish what I start, I imagine my life would be so much easier. I imagine I could write a blog post twice a week – maybe every day. I imagine I could finish a book or a screenplay. I picture my work in print, sitting in the window of a bookshop, or in the discount book bin. I picture a career where I make a living with words, where my writing supports our household.

Maybe one day, I’ll catch and tame the muse, or maybe I’ll realize I don’t need to. Maybe I’ll learn how to call it up at will. One day, I’ll be able to sit down in front of my computer and punch out a blog post or a few pages of a manuscript in a few hours. It’s the hope of someday reaching that reality that keeps me tapping away at my keyboard.

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