Why you shouldn’t eat inspiration in bed

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There’s a bit of a myth that comes about when some people start writing.

“I’m just going to sit at the table and the words are going to flow out of me as pure art. No, what you are describing is finger painting” -Aaron Sorkin

Aaron sorkin’s master class.

The myth is that writing gets done at a state known as inspiration. If you’re not inspired you’re not writing or not writing well. I never had this problem when I started out, but I can see where it could arise.

Inspiration vs motivation


The important direction when trying to overcome this myth is to separate inspiration. From the mythical state of wonder and what it is. Inspiration should mean the idea. You’re inspired to write a story about an entire-universe wormhole or an anti-paladin finding his lost love. This doesn’t mean you rush to a computer or type writer and start to bang out words like you’re on some sort of drug.

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What turns inspiration into words is hard work, which may involve some sort of motivation. In my experience, the only time you’re going to get motivation is never. So the way you take motivation is to wake up and get right too it. Chris fox put this best with an analogy. Imagine that you had to eat a frog every day via some sort of curse. If you leave it to the end, it’s going to be croaking at you all day, so just eat that frog.

Chris fox’s youtube page

What this means for writer’s block

Most people come to the conclusion that they need the inspiration to overcome writer’s block. The thing is that writer’s block isn’t acutely a thing. When I first started I thought writer’s block was the hand cramp from writing to fast or much. I never had a problem writing down a page or so at the time I started. Writer’s block is simply a lack of personal motivation or self-control.

This brings us back to the title because inspiration is like a candy, and you shouldn’t eat that in bed either. It’s the sweet lie that it is not your fault that things are not getting done when in reality it is.

What you need to do now

So what you’re going to do, is find a place in your timetable, try waking up earlier if you can’t find a spot. Don’t worry you only need six hours of sleep. Set a timer at the start of that gap, either with an app or your alarm clock set to where you’d usually wake. Write, and review how many words you wrote. If you’re an underwriter this part is more important than if you’re an over-writer. Often times the threat of having to time and report what you wrote gives you the edge to not be blocked. If that doesn’t work try writing a single word, and then another doesn’t matter if they don’t make sense. Editors have jobs for reasons. Once you have a non-sensical sentence just write the rest of the passage, you’re not looking at a blank screen.

Hopefully, this helps all those who eat their inspiration in bed and gets people writing more.