How does Inspiration Work?
Yesterday I was conducting one of my group book mentoring calls with a group of eager, enthusiastic, aspiring book authors. One member of the group told me he was ready to write the introduction to his book. I was stunned. Its two and a half months in to a six month program. I thought – why hasn’t he written his intro already?
I had to get to the bottom of what was going on and help him move forward.
Generally when you haven’t dug in yet – it’s possible it’s an issue of time management. You simply haven’t sat down and communicated the ideas out of your head and onto the ‘puter screen. Often the challenge is you don’t have a good idea yet for that part of the book. Why waste valuable time sitting down to write when you don’t have a good idea?
You may protest and say, “But Denise, I’m so crazy busy I haven’t had time.” Usually I discover the person hasn’t made the time because he or she is unsure where to go next. You don’t have the next great idea. Yet.
I was surprised with this particular writer. From the first time I spoke with Bill it seemed like he was incredibly clear about the message of his personal growth book. From Day One I’ve agreed with him he’s on track with his overall message. I still feel his topic is an excellent fit with the focus of his successful business. It will dovetail nicely, help position him as an expert and bring new clients his way. He’s ready for that success and elevated credibility as an expert. I’m honored to be helping him and all the people in my groups. He was stymied about how to execute that message.
He told me, “It’s just a matter of sitting down and knocking it out.”
Whenever I hear a sentence that begins with “It’s just a matter of…” I’ve learned most of the time there’s more to it. There’s something in the way. There’s “matter.” Matter is weighty stuff. It gets in the way of moving forward.
If this describes you, it’s possible you haven’t have put your finger on the obstacle yet. Often the best relief for the “matter” that gets in the way (for all of us) is coming up with a good idea. Once again you’re propelled forward, writing happily. How do you come up with that next great idea? If you’re in my program you throw it out there on our live group calls twice a month. If you feel “stuck” you share it on our once a month bonus call. I can help undo the logjam. That’s what I do.
In Bill’s case I knew something was blocking him from getting his introduction done. It’s my job to help unravel whatever is in the way so he can get his introduction done and move on to the next chapters.
Many writers believe to get inspired and keep writing, the heavens open and these gorgeous rays of sunlight spill down upon us and God speaks and bingo – we’re inspired and we know what to do to keep writing amazing prose and finish the next chapter and then on to finish the entire book. Or, we’ll research online and the perfect idea will appear on our screen. Or, we’ll be talking with a friend, or, out for our morning walk enjoying nature and the perfect idea will pop into our consciousness.
It happens. Sometimes.
However, more often when we sit down and write the perfect idea comes to us and flows through our brain, down our arms and into our hands. Then our fingertips dance across the keyboard and BAM – inspiration. Surprisingly, what most people don’t realize is that when they sit down to write – the first thoughts that come through usually aren’t the best ones. Not yet.
In fact, I generally suggest you plan on deleting the first few paragraphs because they won’t be your most brilliant. I learned this way back in college. If you’re patient and keep writing – the good stuff will come. Before you know it you’ll be smiling to yourself saying, “This is GOOD!” and know this is why you love to write and why you’re excited about getting your book done.
Save deleted stuff, by the way. Later, it could spin into a great article, a speech topic or perhaps it belongs in another chapter later in your book.
Inspiration for many, many writers is a function of sitting down to write. Look at your book outline and decide to write on the topic that gets your heart racing slightly. Or start writing on the topic that intrigues you most. Face that blank page and start pouring out your thoughts onto the computer screen.
I guarantee – the first sentences and paragraphs you write won’t be all that and a bag of chips. If you keep with it though, the inspired, clever, thoughtful – and yes I’ll say it – BRILLIANT thoughts will come. Be patient. Stay with it.
We live in an immediate gratification world. The fastest technology on the planet won’t help you pull great ideas out of your brain any faster. If you will simply clear your mind of distractions, be patient with yourself and simply sit down to write – it will come to you. The “matter” will gently move out of the way and you will be delighted with the amazing thoughts you will write that will help readers everywhere when they get their hands on your book.
Denise Michaels is C.E.O. and Founder of the “International Book Writing Guild.” She leads group book mentoring programs for writers of how-to and personal growth books. For more information contact her on Facebook or email her at email@example.com Website coming soon.