Inspiration–how do you like yours?

So, today I thought I might blog about inspiration. I think many people, when they come to write, are worried about whether their inspiration is the ‘right’ kind, or ‘good enough’. I mean, we’ve all read about those people who get their inspiration deep in meditation on top of a mountan in Brazil–but my muses aren’t that fancy.

In my humble opinion (ok, ok, my opinion in generally not very humble), there is no right or wrong when it comes to inspiration.

The inspiration I received for my first book, The Enemy Inside, was so persistent that it almost drove me mad. I was working in the PR job from hell at the time (I’m not sure my boss was actually Satan, but at the very least she was Satan’s number one wife). Every morning I used to hope to get hit by a bus so I wouldn’t have to go to work. But every night, I would go to sleep and dream that I was writing the first chapter of this book. Over and over again, every single night.

Now usually, when I inspiration dream, it’s generally in movie-length, vivid epic complete with casting, sets and costumes. But this was different, in that instead of me either being IN the epic, or closely observing it, this time I was writing it.

It got to the point where I knew the entire first chapter by heart!

Those muses are darn persistent.

Eventually, I got the shits with this—I mean, I had enough going on doing Satan’s bidding without missing out on sleep at night too! So I thought that if I just sat down and wrote out this chapter, that it would get out of my head and I could get on with being miserable in my crap job that I hated. I always had the bus to look forward to, after all.

But hey, what do you know, the rest of the book came out after this first chapter, and I had written it in about a month. I loved writing so much I quit my job and starting writing as much as possible in between doing freelance writing work.

Now, while the book has changed quite a bit and details have been added, Chapter 1 is still very similar to that very insistent dream.

Many people may think it’s pretty naff to say you were inspired by a dream, but we are now so busy in our daily lives, that, frankly, I have no idea how the muses would ever reach us if it wasn’t for sleep.

Apart from really inconvenient moments, like meetings, intimate dinners and parties, I still mostly get inspired by my muses while I dream, and as a result I keep a notepad by the bed to jot it all down (no, you will never remember it in the morning—write it down there and then!).

So that’s my story, may the inspiration be with you.

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Don’t give up. Not ever.

If there’s one thing that is true of writing, and indeed life in general, it’s the absolute requirement to never give up.

Yet so many writers are stymied by the very first stumbling block—be it the first rejection, or their grandma didn’t like it, or someone just put out something similar—and give the entire game away. I shudder when I think of how many bestsellers are buried in a desk drawer somewhere because a moron somewhere (likely an assistant of an assistant of the third letter filer on Wednesdays) didn’t like them.

You may have heard these excuses: ‘It’s all about luck’, ‘People who get published know someone in the industry’, ‘I don’t have time’, ‘I don’t have the right degree/qualifications/the right to express myself creatively’, ‘I’m happy in my horrible job, really.’

I call bullshit.

I do not believe that the writers who get published are the most talented, or their books are the most well-written *cough, Twilight, cough*, or that they’re even lucky. I believe the almighty published are those who are the most determined to succeed and who believe in themselves and never give up.

And let’s face it, if you don’t believe in you, how can you expect anyone else to?

When I gave up my high-paying, soul-sucking job in PR six years ago, I did so with the firm belief that I wanted to write books for the rest of my life (I had always had this conviction, I just got distracted along the way :)). It was a pretty big leap of faith, and I had to believe in myself.

I’m not the best writer in the world, and my books aren’t going to change society (that’d make for a pretty cracked society), but darn it, if I have one redeeming feature it’s that I never give up.

And if someone tells me I can’t do it (which they have, natch) that just makes me want to do it more. So ner! *pokes out tongue*

Writing is hard. And plonking your still-beating heart down on paper for someone to critique is understandably confronting. But you can’t please everyone, and just because you’ve had 10 ‘nos’ doesn’t mean the next answer isn’t going to be a ‘yes’. Remember, Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishers before being picked up (bet those other publishers are crying into their unemployment letters now).

But, you can know for sure you’re never going to succeed if you don’t a) finish writing a book, and b) show it to someone.

I’ve said it before (a lot), but it bears repeating: I’d rather die knowing that I tried and failed, than regret having never tried at all.

So believe in yourselves, peeps, and believe in the work. You’ll get there in the end if you want it enough and are prepared to put in the work.