On Writing: Turning My Back on Inspiration

Today’s word count: 2,493 words

NANTUCKET total word count: 46,990 words

HARPER total word count: 5,435 words

Well, I’ve learned my lesson. I’m never going to do that again: turn my back on inspiration.

This morning when I woke up, an entire scene flooded into my mind. It’s a somewhat scary scene, one I’ve been gearing up for, and the words just tumbled into my brain. Whole paragraphs. Dialogue. Everything,

If I’d been smart enough to come to the computer immediately, I would have been able to capture some of it – maybe even most of it. But no. I didn’t do that. I decided to have my morning coffee(s), relax a bit more, think about some blog posts I’ve been wanting to write … then, before I knew it, it was already mid-day and since I have a bunch of deadlines to complete for work before I head out east for my vacation next week, I had to buckle down and get to work.

Do you want to know what I was thinking? Since it came to me once, it would come to me again.

Hah! I sat down to write the scene tonight, and while the words did come, they were nowhere near as good as the ones that came to me this morning. Those words are now lost in the ether somewhere, I guess.

So I’ve learned my lesson: the next time inspiration strikes like that, I’m going to stop whatever it is I’m doing or was planning to do, and sit down and write. Even if it’s not the time I normally have set aside for writing.

If it’s at all possible, I’m going to write it out immediately if not sooner.

Has this ever happened to you? A complete scene comes to you, or a whole chapter? An entire book, even? Or maybe just a few paragraphs, but such lovely paragraphs? What did you do? Did you get it down right there and then? If you didn’t, when you did sit down to write, did it all come back to you?

7 thoughts on “On Writing: Turning My Back on Inspiration

  1. Gabrielle

    Oh, that used to happen to me all the time! I would even forget ideas for stories I wanted to write! Then I started doing the same thing as Diane. I carry a notebook with me everywhere (fits in my purse), and I jot things down so I can’t forget. I’m so glad I do.

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  2. Linna

    They didn’t come to me as vividly as you had. They were often blurred. But it was better than nothing. My insprations often show up when I lie awake in bed, ready to sleep. And I always unwillingly let them slip away. Even if I dash for my computer, they sort of hide in the shadows. Are they ghosts, vampires or something? Why so shy of light and my clear mind? Maybe that’s why I am so good at being a dreamer instead of a writer. 😀

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  3. Cathryn

    The Muse does have a way of showing up at inopportune times, and a notebook helps to catch the hem of her skirt before she slips away.

    However, your scene is probably not lost in the ether. The other side of inspiration is that scenes are always better in the mind than on the screen or paper, especially that first flash of inspiration. Like Linna wrote, they hide in the shadows. But your scene is still there, still somewhere in your mind, and fully formed scenes have a way of re-emerging while you re-write.
    .-= Cathryn´s last blog ..Figuring it out =-.

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  4. Margot

    I often wake up with great ideas and have had the same thing happen to me as to you. Now I keep paper and pencil near by just so I can write notes. I do the same thing mentioned above on carrying a notebook everywhere I go. It’s funny how the brain works when it comes to good ideas. I just have to be prepared for those times. I hate it when I’m not.
    .-= Margot´s last blog ..Book Review: Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts =-.

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  5. Belle Post author

    I didn’t even think about scribbling things down in a notebook – that is a great idea. I have been keeping an idea notebook anyway.

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  6. Rebecca

    Oh gosh, Belle. Yeah, gotta get those thoughts on paper or on the computer as soon as they pop into your head. I have lost entire scenes and kick-ass lines of dialogue just looking for paper and a pen in my purse on which to jot it down! So beyond frustrating, isn’t it?
    .-= Rebecca´s last blog ..Monday Movie Meme: On Tuesday :) =-.

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