What do you do when inspiration strikes, when your muse speaks to you? (Sidebar: I hate calling things “my muse”) Most of the time inspiration doesn’t show up when you want it to. You get a bit of free time. You sit down, ready to bust out a thousand words or so, but then nothing comes to mind. You don’t know what to write about. The monolithic blank page scares you so instead you waste some time on Twitter or going through pages on Reddit. Then your time’s up and guess what? You got nothing done. Thanks for not showing up, Inspiration.
Personally, I tend to come up with ideas at the weirdest times. The situation I just described above rarely happens to me. Not because I’m an amazing writer, full of ideas all the time. It’s just that I don’t try to write without a plan already in mind. But where do these plans come from? Weird places and strange times. The shower for instance. I’ll be taking my morning shower and bam! I’ve got an idea for a short story. Or what about when I’m falling asleep? I love and hate when that happens. I have to get up and write my ideas down or–what usually happens–text my ideas to myself so they’ll be on my phone in the morning.
I swear I’m trying to go somewhere with this post. Inspiration shows up unannounced. I write down my ideas so I don’t forget them. Then I try to use those ideas. A real life example: I’m working on a short story right now tentatively titled “Land Swimmers.” The idea came to me as I was falling asleep a few weeks ago. Instantly I knew that I had to do something about it or I’d forget it in the morning. I sent myself two texts and I’m so glad I did. Oh, the actual image/thought that sparked everything? “Giant worms that come out when it rains. Jump out of the ground like dolphins.” Yup. That’s where “Land Swimmers” is coming from.
What about all you other writers? What’s the weirdest time/place that inspiration has hit you? What’d you do when that happened?
Project Name: “Land Swimmers” (working title)
Word count: 1,663
I’m having a very surreal moment right now. I’m breaking ground on my 2nd novel of 2011–my 3rd one all time. I just finished the outline for The Price of Loyalty after the end of a marathon day today. You’ll see what I mean when I get to the word count section. This is the longest outline I’ve ever written, so hopefully it’ll be easy to fill in the cracks when it comes to the actual writing part.
Let me break down the surreal part. I consider myself a writer, but in my head there’s a tiny voice that sometimes tries to tell me that I’m faking it. I’m not a real writer. I’m just someone who wishes they were a writer. When that voice kicks in the acceptances, the rejections, the completed stories, and even the two completed* novels don’t count for shit. It’s kind of annoying actually. I hate when that voice pops up. Well it’s kind of happening right now, but this time it’s a little more incredulous instead of discouraging. It can’t believe that I’m starting another book, never mind the fact that I just finished one a month or so ago. Writing yet another book is something real writers do. Okay, maybe it still is just discouraging.
Screw it! I’m writing another book. In a few months I’ll finish the rough draft, and then maybe that little voice will shut the hell up.
*By completed I mean I’ve finished one to the point where it’s suitable for submission. Its sequel has a complete rough draft but hasn’t had any edits or revisions. It’s kind of pointless to start really revising that one because it can’t really be sold on its own.
Here’s my statistics for this mentally exhausting day.
Project: The Price of Loyalty (outline)
Deadline: N/A (was supposed to be 6/1)
Word count: 7,964
In all the excitement of writing my post about the definition of steampunk, I forgot to put up my writing updates. I’ve put the rough draft of Terraviathan aside for the time being. The Exile’s Violin needs to be published first before Terraviathan can be considered. I have plenty of time to work on edits, though I hope somebody picks up the book soon.
I started working on the outline of my science fiction, space opera novel The Price of Loyalty again. I’d first started it a couple of years ago when I was taking a break from The Exile’s Violin. I actually have a completed outline and several completed chapters, but they’re not up to my current standards. They feel very rough and unpolished, not what I’m capable of now. I decided to completely rework the outline and start over. So that’s where I’m at now.
Even though I define the novel as space opera, I’d like to think it’s not going to be generic space opera. Or at least it’ll be space opera with some nuances. Definitely not like this novel described (in jest) on Paul McAuley’s blog.
Project: The Price of Loyalty outline
Deadline: N/A (maybe 5/1 for the outline)
Word count: 12,477 since 4/4
Not much is new right now. I’m still collaborating with Michael Bacon on the outline/script for Tweekers. I’m waiting for more information/official release dates for Growing Dread and In Situ. And I’m still working on The Exile’s Violin 2–this might be the last steampunk thing I write for a while. Man I hate typing that title. I need to come up with a new one soon.
I wrote an outline for a new short story the other day. I might work on it this weekend. I’ve also been itching for some space opera recently. I might have to do a little bit more work on The Price of Loyalty — my sci-fi/space opera novel that’s been stalled for a while. It’s set in the same universe as but before my short story “Runner.”
So here’s the updates for TEV 2.
Project: The Exile’s Violin 2 (working title)
Deadline: N/A (5/1/11 maybe)
Word Count: 23,376