How to Keep the Candle of Inspiration Burning

I’ve mentioned before how dastardly inspiration can be, how it comes and goes at its own choosing, taking or giving as it pleases.

For me, as a writer, this can be a very tasteless problem. How frustrating it is to sit down at my computer, or grab a pen, and then wonder now what was it that I was going to write down?Yea, that’s how quick it can come and go. One moment brings all the excitement of knowing you’ve found something rare and so valuable that you just simply cannot resist making a note of it for future reference. And the next it’s gone.

How depressing!

It is very much the same thing that happens when you are trying to record a longer work.

Say you do write down that one note. Now you’re all fired up about it, ready to take on the world. You’ve got a brilliant article or idea for a story and you just want to write it all out in one sitting. So you start in, but after the first thousand words or so you start to wonder what you are writing about at all. The entire project has become bland and without life.

The candle has died.

The tides have gone back out.

The river has run dry.

What’s the problem? How can you hold onto that feeling of excitement and make it last long enough to write out everything you need?

Well, sometimes you can’t.

Sometimes you have to write whether the flame is burning or not–even though its not a very good idea. This is what I call filling in the gaps. Yea, your writing is going to be pretty bland. It’s not going to have that spark that can ignite in others the desire to write like you do. But its going to get the job done until you can come back later and fix it, later when the tide has come back in.

Other times, when what you write is short enough (not a novel), filling the gaps might not be the best way to solve your problem. There have been so many times when I’ve sat down to write a short story, got half way through it, and realized the inspiration was dying. There have been very few times that I actually wrote the entire story in one sitting; inspiration just doesn’t usually last that long. I’ve actually learned that trying to write something short all in one sitting is not a good idea because the inspiration tends to run dry.

So, how do you keep it alive long enough to burn out the article or story?

The answer is in control and motivation. When inspiration and motivation run in equal, controlled measures, that’s when great things happen! Don’t try to crunch out all your ideas at once. Take your time, think ahead. Ask yourself, where do I want to take this, and how do I want to get there? Then stop from time to time. Take a look back and see how what you’ve written is going to take you to where your going.

Dam up that river and make it do what YOU want!

You shouldn’t have to bow to the power of your own motivation or inspiration. It shouldn’t control you like that. YOU should control IT!

And when you do, the candle can burn forever.