Wrong Place at the Right Time

I’m driving in my car, with the windows down and the radio on, still in disbelief at the greenery all around me. Birds are singing, fluffy clouds lazily stroll across the sky, and the air smells sweet, a blend of fresh cut grass and leftover rain.

And then it hits.

I’m at work, staring at my computer screen. Coffee on my left, paperwork on my right, and co-workers a cubicle’s distance away. Casual chatter and laughter as they design and I respond to client’s inquiries. A printing press is heard, the smell of ink and fresh paper wafts through the office, and I glance at the framed photos of my boyfriend and I.

And then it hits.

I’m sitting on a hard wooden pew, with cardigan covered arms crossed, and my right foot twitches. The minister shares a message, as hundreds of eyes and ears tune in. The sunlight catches the stain glass, the bright pink and white flowers pop on the altar, and a baby or two cry out.

And then it hits.

Inspiration hits at the absolute worst times. The ideas won’t stop flowing, words and thoughts and theories and visions all tumble together at the speed of light, so fast that even if you had a notebook or your computer nearby you couldn’t possibly capture every single thing spinning around in your mind at that very moment.

Then, the second you are finally near a pad of paper or your laptop, just as quickly as the creativity came upon you it has left again. Like a twister of imaginative wonder that has barely touched down before it’s sucked back up into the sky. You stare at the screen, the cursed cursor mocking you as it blinks ON off ON off ON off..

Nothing. Nothing at all comes to mind.

I think that is why I struggle so much with writing. Between work, commuting, and family commitments, my inspiration has no choice but to pop up at the worst possible times because I leave it no choice. I can’t help that my brain is extremely creative at 10:30 in the morning instead of after 6:00. I can’t control that driving somehow stimulates that special part of my cranium where the magic happens. Inspiration will happen when it wants to happen, and there isn’t anything I can do about it.

Or is that just what I tell myself?

Is it possible that I am using the fact that inspiration comes at less than ideal times as an excuse to not get any writing done? Is it becoming a well-disguised crutch? A crutch I lean on when I am too scared to actually try and turn my ideas into words, words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into pages, pages into chapters…

If I really break down how I could channel my inspiring moments (carry a notebook, a voice recorder, send myself a text message), would that help? Or am I just a “writer” that is actually just an individual with dreams but no drive and is extremely crappy at commitment and extremely fantastic at excuse-making and creative procrastination? What is stopping me from actually trying?

Fear? Laziness? Poor discipline? Self-doubt?

A good friend of mine (you know who you are) reminded me that writing is much like a relationship. Some days, you may not feel like you are into the relationship a hundred percent. It’s similar with writing. If we only write when we feel like it, are we really giving our writing the best shot it has? What if we only loved when we felt like it? What if we only cared for our friends or children when we felt like it? What if we only listened to our bosses when we felt like it?

If we only write when we feel like it, or when we think the inspiration hits us, we aren’t giving our writing our best shot.

I might not become a successful writer someday. I might not be the proud author of a best seller. I even may never become published.

But you and I won’t get anywhere close to those dreams if we don’t at least try.

shrugging gwenyth



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