Friday, June 16, 2006

Find Inspiration

Light BulbLong 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.

7 Comment:

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Unknown Left a note...

I'm definitely guilty of writing from the heart. Trying to keep a business mind too these days. I'm a work in progress.

That is a GREAT quote by BF. Thanks for sharing that.

At 5:24 PM, Blogger Shelley L. MacKenzie Left a note...

I'm a work in progress too. I think I might be a little mix from both of those categories. I have the word count goal, the type of audience/genre that I am working towards, but I also write from the heart as well. With the latter, I think I generally use those pieces (no matter how small they are) as 'practice' pieces though.

At 6:40 PM, Blogger Dineen A. Miller Left a note...

"The key is not to be mired in doing nothing but to be proactive in the process."

Now that's a line I want to remember. Lots of truth there. Thank you, Terry.

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Daniel Darling Left a note...

Terry brings us a great topic. I think that as a writer, you have to be a little of both heart and business.

I try to write from the heart with my first draft, but let others input shape it. God gives me great ideas for books, mags, etc, but unless the market will receive it, the only audience I'll have is myself and my family.

We can't be totally market-driven, but we can't we totally insulated with our own inspiration. Somewhere there's a balance.

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Vicki Caruana Left a note...

I'm a mix between the two, but when I have multiple contracts to fulfill I definitely am more disciplined. But even I struggle once in a while, as Terry knows....thanks for the advice the other day Terry...I've nailed 6 pages a day since then...back in the saddle!

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Diane Left a note...

I write from the heart. That's a great thing but it does nothing for the pocketbook! I have learned that I am going to have to get with the program. I am going to create an outline and start writing and not detour from the process. I went to my mother-in-law's yesterday to have my first lesson in quilting. You have to have a pattern, a templent, and directions. To get a quilt you have to follow them. I think good writers or should I say the published writers have an outline, instruction, displine, stick with it and produce material. Much like anything else in life...driving somewhere you have to have directions.

You have inspired me today and I also love the quote. When I am not writing I need to be doing something to write about instead of wallowing in depression!


At 8:39 PM, Blogger Gene Left a note...


I noticed the banner at the top of your blog includes three ingredients necessary for writers: a computer, a book, and a clock. I know how to use my computer. I love to read. In fact, sometimes I read when I should probably be writing. My biggest hurdle is the clock, i.e., finding time (or really, making time to write.) This is an old battle among writers for sure. I'm new to your blog and I'm sure you've covered this many times so I apologize for asking a tired question. I struggle to find time to write with all of the busyness and responsibilities that come with my ministry and life.

I could use any inspiration, advice, or encouragement you can give or link to me. You got anything for me?




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