cave canem

Cave Canem- Beware the Dog

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Filia Caniculae on Writing Sans Inspiration

A lack of inspiration can be a terrible thing to a writer. The general advice is to write through it, but this is cold comfort to someone staring at the white void of a blank page, bearing the cruel mockery of a blinking cursor, facing the stark fear of being nothing but an uninspired hack...
I understand this pain, and, in solidarity with my fellow writers, offer the patented Filia Caniculae method of writing through the dry spells.

Step 1: Listen to Music
Music can be a great source of inspiration for writers. Perhaps there's a band that really inspires you to start writing, or there's a song that reminds you of one of your characters. Some people, like myself, work best when listening to instrumental music, because the song lyrics can be distracting. If that's the case, there are many great instrumental pieces, from classical music, to video game soundtracks, to jazz. Try looking around for some songs to listen to, and see if it helps! Just don't spend looking at music, the page is waiting for you.

Step 2: Caffeine Time!
 This may not be helpful to everybody, but to many writers it's a godsend. J.K. Rowling wrote much of Harry Potter in a coffee shop, and there are many other authors who would be lost without their coffee or tea. And for those of you who prefer to write late at night, the extra energy is crucial. Plus, there's nothing like the jitters to improve your typing, and having to get up and pee every few minutes is a great way to keep the blood flowing to your head!

Step 3: Suspect Yourself of Plagiarism
With your body loaded with stimulants and your song of choice cranked loud, you begin writing, words coming out in a rush of excitement. Woah, there, buddy, you're coming up with ideas faster than your fingers can type out the words! This is gold! This is some of the best writing you've ever done!
Oh, shit, wait. Haven't you seen this somewhere before? That line seems familiar, and that concept... You turn to Google, frantically searching... There's no way you came up with this yourself, after all. You aren't nearly that original.
You fail to find anything incriminating, but you still feel uneasy. Maybe you should change it a little? Oh well, you decide finally, you can always go back and edit it later... You go on, hoping desperately that nobody sues you over this.

Step 4: Realize that Everything You've Been Writing Is Terrible
The flow of ideas finally begins to trickle to a crawl before stopping entirely. Wow, nine whole pages? Sweet! You scroll back up and start to look over what you wrote. Then you cringe. Really? What were you thinking? Was that line supposed to be clever? That is the most implausible sequence of events you've ever heard of in your life. What the hell kind of metaphor is that? Is that even a word? You don't think it's a word. You consult a dictionary. It tells you that it is a word, but it doesn't mean anything like what you thought it did. Crap. You delete half of your work in a fit of self-loathing. You are the biggest idiot ever to exist. You hate your life.

Step 5: Bang Your Head on the Table in a Fit of Impotent Rage
After a great deal of frustration, it's nice to have an outlet for all that artistic rage. Banging your head on the table can be a very cathartic experience, and, if you're lucky, you might even pass out and not have to face your own idiocy any longer. Unfortunately, it actually hurts a lot, so you only do it once or twice, and not very hard. Then you get up to go to the bathroom for about the millionth time. Fucking caffeine. You drank a shitload of it, too. You want to go to sleep, but you're still wired. Caffeine supposedly stays in your system for six hours. It's now about two in the morning. Yay.

Step 6: Bitch About Your Problems on the Internet
A blog can be a valuable tool for a writer, and who better to complain about your problems to than strangers on the internet? After all, there are a lot of people who get famous on the internet for bitching about stuff, right? Maybe this time, somebody will actually see what you wrote, maybe your pageviews will finally crawl past the double digits, maybe somebody will actually care about what you have to say...
Step 7: Repeat Step 4
Goddammit, did you really just post that shit for the entire world to read? Holy crap, you've seen four year olds write more coherently than that. You were clearly right, you're just a stupid talentless hack. You contemplate your own meaninglessness, wondering what a life spent working at McDonald's might be like. You consider deleting the post, but hell, it's not like anybody will actually see it anyway.

Step 8: Keep Writing Anyway
You may not be any good right now, but you keep trying. After all, even if you never make a career of writing, it's what you love doing. The act of creation is an end in itself, and a lifetime spent perfecting the craft, no matter how difficult or frustrating, is a lifetime well spent. You could never give it up; it's part of who you are. It's practically written into your genetic code. Words are the blood in your veins and the air that you breathe. You'll keep on writing until the day you die, because without writing, you would die.

Step 9: Fuck it, You Have to Pee Again
Why the hell did you have to drink that much freaking coffee?

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