Long ago I learned in general there are two types of writers. One writer will wait for inspiration to strike. When it hits, this writer will crank out a magazine article or a devotional or a book proposal. Then the writer tries to figure out where to sell this masterpiece. In general, inspirational writers don’t have a specific magazine or marketplace or reader in mind. They are simply writing from their heart. Now there is nothing wrong with writing from the heart but these writers are floating all sorts of things into the marketplace and not getting published—and mostly frustrated with the submission process.
The other type of writer is much more deliberate. This writer considers the market and writes to a specific audience or magazine. This writer has specific goals—usually a word count. Frank Peretti is the only writer that I’ve interviewed who writes with a timer and writes so long each day (but hey it works for him). Morning, noon or night, this type of writer sits at the computer and cranks out words. Some times those words are more inspired and better than others but this writer is disciplined and consistent.
If you haven’t been aware, I fall into this second type of writer but I’ve met a number of the first type at various writers conferences.
Yet even this second type of writer needs encouragement and inspiration from time to time. In the middle of my writing, my own inspiration often comes from different places. In April, I was in New York City for the American Society of Journalists and Authors conference. In one of the sessions, I picked up a new mousepad from the Copyright Clearance Center. Now I have never had the need to contact the CCC but I’ve enjoyed their mousepad. It has a screen-back image of a pair of reading glasses which are laying on a document (possibly the Declaration of Independence but it is unclear). At the bottom of the mousepad is a quotation which I’ve been reading each day and find inspirational: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing,” Benjamin Franklin.
There are many other ways to find inspiration if you are struggling—such as do something completely different from sitting at the computer such as exercise or read a magazine or a book. The key is not to be mired in doing nothing but to be proactive in the process.