I was talking to someone recently and he said that he really wanted to start writing sketches and film them. I asked him how often he wrote. He said he didn’t do it regularly, that he wouldn’t write for weeks and then inspiration would hit and he’d stay up all night pouring out ideas.
I wanted to gag.
I wanted to tell him to stop being an amateur and just nut up and write every single day, even when he didn’t feel like it, especially when he didn’t feel like it. I wanted to tell him that inspiration is a joke and is about as meaningful as a bartender’s smile. But I didn’t tell him that, because I am a coward.
If I threw up in my mouth a little bit every time I heard someone talking about inspiration, how hard it is to find time to write, or how they don’t like to think of writing as work, then I would have sore cheeks and a mouth full of partially digested tuna sandwiches.
I also used to believe that inspiration was somewhere else, that I needed to go out there to find it. I believed that maybe if I walked to the beach or traveled, or went to a new coffee shop, that I’d know more about what I needed or about the world, or that I’d be able to solve the creative problem I was having. I believe in the romantic notion of alcohol-fueled late nights filled with artistic notions and dark genius.
What I found, however, is different and much less sexy. I found that when I treat writing like work, I respect it more because I do it regardless of whether I want to or not. I found that a life filled with hangovers and headaches kills my creativity and my free time.
I found that seeking space and inspiration was, more often than not, a waste of time. I mean, sure I saw some beautiful sunsets and what nots, but looking back I was eating up my free time by going somewhere else to write, which I could do anywhere.
Sure, there are distractions like phones and email and babies crying, so I turn off my freaking phone, I disconnect my computer from the Internet, and I shut the door, and I train my brain to love it and to get off on the silence as much as it gets off on getting a Facebook notification.
The only space I need to write is enough room for my laptop, and the perfect time to write is always now, especially if it’s only five minutes. Inspiration is not somewhere else. It’s right here.