Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sitzfleisch and Flash



I asked a friend yesterday if she mainly wrote out of inspiration, or if she’d mastered the discipline of sitzfleisch.  She was quick to say, “I write when I’m inspired.”

Another friend finally finished her manuscript after years of sporadic visits from the muse, claiming that trying to work without the presence of magic was to produce sheer mediocrity.

Sitzfleisch is a German word which means to sit still and get through the task at hand. It’s often the difference between an aspiring writer and bona fide writer.

You sit long enough to prime the pump and get those creative juices flowing. Whatever it takes.  My aids are a burning tea light and quiet, a cup of magic brew (Columbian espresso), and leisure. Oh, and reading a masterfully written book thaws any frozen pump.

Charles Frazier said he set the writing mood with music. In Cold Mountain, it was Appalachian style that inspired that well of words. 

Julia Cameron has sold many on the idea of morning pages, three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing.  Not high art, just releasing random thoughts on paper and skimming off the dross of life to clear the way for the sublime.

Natalie Goldberg compares writing practice to daily exercise. “If you work out regularly, when it’s time to do the heavy lifting, like move a piano or take an essay test, or write something super important, it will be easier because you have developed the muscles.”

Novelist and short story writer Peter S. Beagle says to just show up for work. “My uncle Raphael was a painter, and he used to say, ‘If the muse is late for work, start without her.’ You have to be there. You have to be there and do it, and grind it out, even when it is grinding and you know you’re probably going to rewrite all this tomorrow.” 

My writing student Cyna says, “Why let something as fickle as inspiration hold you back? You’re a writer!  MAKE something exciting happen! And if your inspiration does decide to show up while you’re working, tell it to get in line. You have writing to do.” 


What about you? How do you prime your pump?
When you don’t feel inspired, do you still sit down and write anyway?


Sharing with LL Barkat at Seedlings in Stone.

107 comments:

  1. So glad to see you back, Debra! Sure have missed you!
    I have been so blessed to have daily scripture reading as my inspiration, my jumping off point into the devotion. Still, I may have difficulty choosing one or seeing a story to tell to make it personal for the reader. But, once I have settled on a verse, I mull it over, build the story line in my head, then sit down to write. God hasn't let me down yet!
    And, writing practically on a daily basis has truly made the process easier.
    Great post and great questions for writers!
    Blessings to you!

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    1. Martha, it’s resurrection time. After 2 months of living in a dark place, how great to see the light at the end of that tunnel.
      You’re just the person to address this topic since you’re a daily blogger. Where are you with the book btw?

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    2. Debra, I'm meeting with my editor this Wednesday. A new journey is about to begin and I am eager and willing even though the threads of trepidation dangle before my face. It's time!
      I am so, so glad the darkness has lifted for you, my friend, and the light is shining brightly. I can't begin to tell you how much I've missed your regular posts and how they always lift my spirits and inspire me!
      May God continue to bless and keep your writing flowing. What talent you have!

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    3. Martha, I send you blessings upon your writing. May God open the windows of heaven. May you find favor wherever your writing career leads. As you have blessed others, may He bless your labor of love! Congratulations, and keep us posted. Oh happy day!

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  2. This is so true. I often find that some of my best writing comes not the first time I sit down to write, but after many, many trial and errors. I think God honors our continued pursuit of inspiration, seized by "BIC" - butt in chair time.

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    1. Beth, exactly. BIC! Never let a first draft see the light of day, as all too many do :-( You know what Anne Lamott calls that...

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  3. It has only been via years of writing that no one sees that I began to take myself seriously; to believe what has been inside of me all along. I no longer flinch when I say, "I'm a writer."

    If we don't show up to write, how will we know when the unexpected bit of inspiration strikes. Inspiration does not always present itself in convenient moments...it comes when it wishes...and often after the kind of writing that seems unimportant--a waste of time even. But none of it is a waste, ever.

    Some mornings my writing consists of making comments on other people's writing--it is amazing how much thought and inspiration that can generate.

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    1. CC, yes, claim your fame. Inspiration, as capricious as it may be, can’t be trusted to volunteer. We have to play the role of secretary sometimes, instead of CEO, don’t we? We have to do all the work singlehandedly, most often. And you’re right about ANY writing being writing practice. Even blog comments count. It gets you in the groove.Good feedback.

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  4. I just saw you in Linda's blog and went immediately to your page where I saw this.

    I'm so happy to see you back :)

    I forgot about inspiration a long time ago. My art mentor and SDs have come and go and they say they the same thing. 'Do it, with or without!'

    I couldn't even say I have no time because when I wish to do something, even if I have about a 100 tasks, I'd put in a little break and do it.

    The thing is I could do better when my mind is more relaxed or when I'm hit by an experience I had during the day or struck with an interesting conversation with somebody.

    Light music also helps ~ a good image/photo or a blog that touched my heart, a prayer or a dream :)

    Thanks for this wonderful post :) See?

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    1. Thank you my dear friend. So glad to be back after a most stressful time :-(
      Your SD and art mentor are wise souls, like you Melissa. So many things inspire, especially if our eyes are open and we are paying attention. A dream, a prayer, art, music, writing, film,conversation, good friends…

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  5. Oh, yes, I make myself sit down and work on whichever writing project I'm currently in the midst of instead of wait for the muse. I can't wait for her to visit once a week or twice a month! I love the quotes you've included in this post. Julia Cameron and Natalie Goldberg, in particular, are quite the daily inspirations one needs. :)

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    1. Claudine, yeah, who has time to wait around for a fickle muse? Just do it with or without her assistance. Our job is to show up for work and roll up our sleeves. Years ago I did those morning pages and artist dates. How about you? Did you once go through the Artist Way steps?

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  6. So great to see you back, Debra. Missed you. I began writing just last year and I realized that I was comfortable with poetry. Unlike all of you who say that you write and dont wait for your muse or inspiration. I am still a slave of inspiration. Especially since i write poems that are very close to my heart, I cannot just write till I am inspired

    http://rimlybezbaruah.blogspot.in/2012/05/my-salvation.html

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    1. Rimly, I've thought of you over the weeks and missed your poetry and words and hoped to catch up soon. And thank God, here i am again.

      Keep writing those lovely words that are uniquely Rimly.

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  7. how it feels when your mind is full of words but your pen is jammed????it's just lame!!!

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    1. zarnab, never let a jammed pen slow you down. Buy a pack of new pens and keep writing ;-)

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    2. it would be useless,because then tears will spoil the paper:)

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    3. Oh Zarnab, what's wrong? Talk to me.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. Just forget her and be your creative self. You have better things to focus on. You have writing to do, art to make, new friends on the horizon. If she still wants to be friends, fine. But always remember this.

      Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind
      don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~ Dr. Seuss

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    6. thank you so much:)your modesty.simplicity has made me your fan:)

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  8. I think Sitzfleisch is my favorite new word. Seems I'm asking my kids to do this with their homework every night these days. Just sit down and get it done- come on, you can do it. And me? Oh, my maybe Sitzfleisch could help me press through the midnight hour when I want to give up on my WIP and just go to bed!

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    1. Alicia, sitzfleich may be my favorite new word too. Since I learned how to pronounce it, I’ve been teaching it to my piano students today. This word can be applied to any task that requires sitting and focusing. And for us writers, it’s a MUST for any WIP! Today, I’ll be practicing what I preach ;-)

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  9. So happy to read your beautiful words again Debra!! Welcome back!

    I totally agree with daily practice, and have done morning pages on and off since I read Writing Down the Bones. Once I'm in the rhythm, I find that nuggets of beauty show up in the rest of the gibberish that I can later use. I also keep my notebook on hand through the day, so when inspiration comes, whenever it comes, I'm armed and ready.

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    1. Kristen, ditto. Missed your inspiration too, but the storm clouds have finally cleared.
      Writing practice is like mining for those gold nuggets of beauty that you know are buried among the drivel. But those gems may never be found apart from the disciple of digging.
      Have you ever taken Natalie’s advice and written in cafés and coffee shops?

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  10. So glad to have you back, Debra. I'm sorry that you had a hard few months. I hope that all is well now. I know that my own bad times were always followed by times of inspiration and creativity and I wish the same for you my dear friend.
    I too tend to sit and wait for inspiration, but I'm learning not to do that anymore.

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    1. Corinne, friends like you are worth coming back to ;-) I’m sure you can relate to oppression. Not the same as depression. It’s outward. Things coming at you. Attacks. And whenever I thought about my friend from India, and looked at my wall and saw her post from winter, my heart lifted a bit. Remember the video you posted while we were in a literal storm here? This.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PO17DIeI7Ec&feature=share

      I send this same blessing back to you.

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  11. I don't need anything. I just sit down at the keyboard, think for a couple of minutes, and it flops out of my brain.

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    1. Cindy, yeah, that's what you're practicing: sitzfleisch. That's what the word means: sitting down, thinking, and letting the words flop out of your brain;-)

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  12. Yes! I sit down during my writing time, whether I'm inspired or not. Once I start, I almost always get into it.
    Catherine Stine’s Idea City

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    1. Catherine, I think that’s the trick: just showing up for work, inspired or not.

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  13. I try to write something nearly every day, but distractions are demanding and plentiful. Most of the time I get up very early, or even in the middle of the night when such distractions are few and far between.

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    1. Anna, whatever you do, it must be right! I’d love to read a post on what works for you. We could glean some magic from it, that’s for sure.

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  14. “Why let something as fickle as inspiration hold you back? You’re a writer! MAKE something exciting happen! And if your inspiration does decide to show up while you’re working, tell it to get in line. You have writing to do.”

    I think this sums up!! You have a brilliant student, which means you are a teacher par excellence. :)
    I love these words and yesss let the inspiration get in line.

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    1. Punam, Cyna is a brilliant student indeed. Here are some other lines in that same piece she wrote.

      “You’re a writer. You march to the beat of a different drummer. Actually, you more likely forgo marching in favor of riding a tricycle, and the drumming for an electric violin…”

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    2. Impressive. :) God bless her.. She has oodles of talent.

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  15. I only started writing recently and I can't just sit down and decide I have to write something. It can happen at any time anywhere. I just get an idea and the words comes out

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    1. Nikky, go with those ideas and run! One idea leads to another, and another...

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  16. If I'm in the middle of something -- a short story, an essay, a novel (recently finished) -- the curiosity to see if what I wrote yesterday holds up and where today might bring me -- brings me to my desk with reasonable consistency. And there's an absolute magic that takes hold when I'm reading something masterful, as you put it; sometimes, a passage or page that bears an unconscious rhythmic and/or thematic relationship to what I'm working on sends me scurrying to my laptop. Starting something new is less about inspiration than it is about this feeling that something is missing if I'm not writing (enough).

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    1. Deborah, that’s what real writers do. There seems to be chair glue for their bums ;-) They keep returning to the project, like a baby that needs tending to, like a wilted plant that needs water, like a soup that needs stirring. Their creations are their children. They need attention, nurturing, feeding, and lots of love.
      On reading something masterful… that’s how your words impact me. The way you turn a phrase, paint a word picture, it’s magical.

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  17. I tell students that I mentor this very simple suggestion: "Just write. Don't over think it. Don't avoid it. Just do it. In the process, even if it feels sluggish and tormented, you'll find a thread to pull and begin to weave with." I remind myself of that regularly when my own Muse takes a vacation. And last night, I was hit with immense inspiration - one of those bright, electric moments that poured out of my hands and sizzled. I love those, although they are few and rare. When they do hit, it's delightful, but the reality of being a writer is that 99% of the time, we're slaving away and disciplining ourselves, determined to not give up. That discipline makes the electric moments that much more bright, I think.

    Much love to you, darling girl! <3

    - Dawnie

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    1. Dawn, don’t you love those flashes of inspiration like you had last night? We tell our students the same thing. I say to mine, “Don’t edit yourself to death on the first draft. Just write and the editing can come later. Your words here reminded me of a German proverb that I relate to writing. “Begin to weave and God will give the thread.” That’s not only apt for writing, but a good way to look at life.

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    2. I love that Proverb, Debra! I agree that it applies beautifully to life. You and I simply weave with words, rather than thread. Or we paint. Or sculpt. In my mind, it's a dance. :)

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    3. Yes! The dance of life!
      Here's another proverb that applies:
      "Leap and the net will appear."

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    4. LOL...you and I could share quotes for years and never get bored! One fine day, we really shall meet in person and oh my, it will be fun! One of my all time favorite quotes, and poet/writers:

      "When two close kindred meet, what better than call a dance." - William Butler Yeats

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    5. Amen! Love the Yeats quote. And would love to meet you in person,Dawn,and share our stories live! We're not that far apart,just next door neighbors, NC and TN.

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  18. I write little besides my blog, I do take a lot of pictures. when I have no inspiration for photos, I go walk and soon I am inspired once more. As far as the blog goes I write when I can and when I am so full of words, that I am driving everyone around me nuts, I write. Photos are different though, sometimes I cannot see what needs to be captured for all the negative visions I have in my head. For those times I just walk or rest and breath, sometimes a few ours sometimes a few days....

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    1. Oh but you write when you blog. Your words may be few, but what about those pictures? They paint a thousand words. I could get lost in these. Your work is always inspiring to me. Jan, you are doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing: creating, walking, resting, breathing, inspiring.

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  19. You have been on my mind for the last several weeks. The last I saw was a photo upload of your daughter. I am glad to see your words here again.. To answer your question, I write regardless if I am feeling inspired. If i feel void of magic, I write until that magic finds its way into my heart or until I stumble on a theme I want to explore. I don;t think a writer can sit around and wait (my opinion) I think we have to go look for it sometimes. Even when our heart is too full with no room we should sit down and write it all out... Loved reading the responses here.. I am fascinated by the writer's process.

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    1. Thanks Brenda. I’m glad to be back from that 2 month hiatus and hell :-(
      As I told you earlier today, Isabel Allende ain’t got nothin’ on you! How’s that for proper grammar?
      I enjoyed A Writer’s Climb. Keep climbing.
      The magic always finds its way to your heart and through you.

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  20. It is wonderful to see you back here.. and that too with such a great force... I have stopped writing... due to my busy schedule and lack of inspiration. However I have incorporated writing 2/3 lines that would sync with the images I take or share. Sometimes I come up with something and sometimes it is just images I post....

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    1. Savira, I’ve missed you, and I appreciate your checking in on me during my absence. Soul friends do that. Thank you! You haven’t stopped blogging, have you? I see your glorious photos and words of wisdom on FB from time to time, all of which have cast light in the dark cave. And for that I’m grateful too.

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    2. Debra... sadly yes I have stopped blogging.. No blog and no more writing...When I arrived here in malaysia for the 2 months to teach I found that I could not focus on either one so I made the choice to shut down my blog and put my creativity into my teaching... It has been such an amazing experience for me.. I seem to have opened and accepted my skills with such gratitude.... I thas changed me in many ways....

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    3. Savira, you have a beautiful way of expression, be it in words or photos. It seems that everything is for a season, and we never know when the winds of change will blow. I checked out your website and couldn’t find any blog, but I did notice that teaching seems to be your focus at the moment.

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  21. Oh, Debra! ~

    We all missed you so much -- welcome back!!!

    I only write true stories and I'm dedicated to writing about that amazing thing that's happening in my real life TODAY (rather than telling the same old stories over and over again from the past...) Since I'm also dedicated to making each day the best day of my life so far, I'm never without inspiration!

    However, sometimes I feel too exhausted from the living of it to write about it! That's where the discipline comes in for me ;-)

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    1. You know, I’ve missed my circle of soul friends. Sunday was resurrection day though, and I decided to step back into the circle of kindred spirits where I know I belong. Thank you for checking in on me too. Those acts of kindness go a long way in bringing inner healing. When I think of you I see in my mind’s eye blessed bling, those lovely beads I covet. You are so gifted and inspiring Linda. Love the writing, the photos, the creative mind. One of a kind!

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  22. I love what your student has to say - I am more her type too... I learnt a new German word today - thanks!

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    1. Kriti, you make up the best stories! You had me going there for a minute...

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  23. Debra! Great post. I show up in the morning to write, usually uninspired, and I begin with or without my muse. I have found that most of the time my muse shows up late. It's as though my writing draws her to my side, afraid that I just might be able to do it without her. Muse's have egos too! LOL!

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    1. Leah, LOL! That would make a good post, how muses have egos too! They’re given way more credit than they deserve. I say they’re overrated. Some may need to be fired for their habitual tardiness ;-)

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  24. that Cyna is one smart cookie and she is so lucky to have you as a teacher! I love all of this and I agree with every bit of it. I sometimes have to wrestle the words out and sometimes they just come like a dam waiting to be open, but I am commited either way.

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    1. Shelly, I’m the lucky one to have Cyna for a student ;-) She’s every teacher’s dream because she’s self-motivated. That girl writes without a prompt or prompting.
      And you… you have a full-time, live-in muse and don’t tell me otherwise!

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  25. Hi Debra:
    I don't get writer's block. I never really have. I bet you and some of your readers myay be rolling your eyes now saying:
    C'mon! Everyone get's writer's block

    Even when I was writing fiction, I seldom was hit with writer's block. What was my secret back then? I typically had two or three stories going at the same time and when I found s temporary stoppage at what I was currently working on, I'd jump over to something else. That usually worked to free the blockage. The secret is to keep writing.

    Write through your block. The other secret/trick is to develop a schedule and ALWAYS stick w/it. If you find that you write best at night, then don't change the habit. Night writing, typically from 6-11 pm were my golden hours. If I attempted to change that and write during the morning, I'd be staring at a blank screen.

    Stick w/your prescribed best time to write.

    Now that I'm mostly writing my blog, I still don't experience any kind of blockage. Now once again some of your readers may shake their heads. However I REALLY feel my inspiration comes from the Divine, If I do have a temporary blockage I simply close out and do a bit of meditation. Usually a short time later I receive my topic for my next blog.

    This is JUST my way of seeking inspiration. Everyone has their own way. There is no right or wrong. Whatever works, works.
    --
    Chris

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    1. Thank you for the good advice Chris. I’m not rolling my eyes at all ;-) Clearly you don’t get writer’s block. I don’t either. My problem is more discipline than writer’s block. It’s NBA season after all.
      Naturally I agree that the secret to success is persistence. Keep writing and keep the flow going. Works every time. And the 2nd tip you gave is equally important: schedule. Admittedly, I haven’t been the world’s best at keeping to a schedule. But that’s changed now. That spiritual memoir is on the front burner now, and 2nd the blogging. Gotta get that baby born! And so I’ll find my prime writing time and stick with it. Thanks for your valuable counsel!
      Have a great weekend!

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  26. Hi Debra:
    Discipline:
    I THINK if you can find your optimal schedule and stick to it, you'll find that the moment you step away from the process you'll be missing it. I know when I wrote my last first draft novel about fifteen years ago (Wow! Just saying fifteen years ago makes me reflect on all the time that has passed.) it took about six weeks as I wrote more than ten pages a night. When I stopped for the night I could NOT wait to start again. Think you'll feel the same way once you get into a rhythm.
    --
    Chris

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    1. Chris, when I wrote my novel, it took me 5 years to complete. I wrote sporadically instead of consistently because I had no choice. That was when I had my last child, and babies are demanding!
      Now I can take your advice and find that optimal schedule because the baby is almost 17 ;-) Wow, where does the time go? There are certain days I’m free to sit down and write, and I’m sticking to this schedule as though I were clocking in to a job. Thank you for encouraging me to find a rhythm and go for it. I can do that now.

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  27. This is a great post Debra.

    For me, inspiration strikes all of the time, so waiting for it to arrive isn't a huge task. I think also my training as a journalist has taught me the ability to sit down and bang something out when I need to.

    I rarely get traditional writer's block. The only thing that hampers me is being physically or mentally tired and at times writing is the cure for that! I am blessed to have this writing bug and I pray it never goes away. So nice to read other's processes as well in the comments.

    Cheers and I will be back this way again soon!

    http://lyricfire.typepad.com/lyric-fire/2012/05/lyric-fire-when-writers-collide-my-fantasy-author-mashups.html

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    1. Thank you Tameka for sharing your insights. Inspiration comes for you, then, from that new word, sitzfleisch: just sitting down and doing it? See? It works like charm doesn’t it?

      I can rarely write when I’m tired. What is your peak time of day to write? Mine is earlier in the day. Not first thing (I need the magic brew first), but afternoons or earlier in the evening. No, we don’t believe there’s any such thing as writer’s block, do we? Just a myth some made up to give unproductive writers an excuse ;-)

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  28. goodness, Debra, i'm just stunned to read this..
    i hopped over to visit your 'house' after receiving your invite and reading your lovely comments on enjoying cherry tea at mine.. TY for the visit and follow :)
    a Pleasure to have you journeying with me...
    now to read exactly what's happening for me at this very moment is quite the awe and wonder i love to live in!
    my inspiration has taken the form of a writing contest w/ clearly viewed deadline set before me daily!!
    a focused head and heart if i want that submission completed on time...!

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    1. Oh indeed, nothing like a writing contest to keep one inspired ;-) A daily deadline?
      Well, all the best success with your writing. May awe and wonder continue to be your guide.
      Love the play on words at your site: Faith, Hope, and Cherrytea ;-) Stay in touch.

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  29. Hi Debra! I'm so glad you're back to blogging. I missed your beautiful writing and the wisdom I get from your posts. :-)

    For me, I usually don't write when I am not inspired. But I think from now on I'm going to have to after reading what your writing student said!

    Rest and sleep is very important for me; the words come out more easily when I'm well-rested. I need to fill my blood with caffeine hehe I read, read, and read. I take pictures. I reflect on a lot of things.

    Beautiful, thought-provoking post, Debra! I am grateful for the new things I learned here today! God bless :-)

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    1. Oh Irene, thank you for the warm welcome back. I’ve missed your writing wisdom too, and all your inspiration in the little things.

      Like Cyna said, whether we feel inspired or not, we have to MAKE something happen, don’t we?

      Being well rested is paramount to production for me too. And caffeine, the elixir of energy, the formula for success ;-) Hope you have a wonderful week my friend!

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  30. I am your newest and 500th follower, awesome! Well thank you for stopping by theredeemedgardener@blogspot.com! I can't wait to continue to read along on your journey! Thank you!

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    1. Clint, I’m so glad you’re here among my fellow writing friends. Loved what you had to say about what children need. No one could agree with you more on how to encourage the next generation of children. Learn by doing, yes indeed! And I look forward to reading the latest from you! Happy Memorial Day!

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  31. i tend to agree with goldberg...it is a daily exercise...even on days when it is not there...i may only salvage a bit from that kind of day but it keeps me exercising...

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    1. Brian, whatever you’re doing is working. Keep up that daily exercise, it’s paying off!

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  32. The best advice I've read is sit on your butt and write:) And do it everyday. Great post!
    www.toshowthemjesus.com

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    1. Christina, of all the writing advice out there, this is probably the best ;-) Yes?

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  33. Okay, I was just about to look up the meaning of sitzfleisch until I kept on reading. :-) I don't believe in waiting for inspiration either. Just write. Words almost always come out.

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    1. Lisa, you sound like me. I’ll look up a word I don’t know in a heartbeat. Etymology is my favorite subject.

      Writing is like building the field. Write and the words will come. I shared with someone else the German proverb, “Begin to weave and God will provide the thread.”

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  34. This is a thoughtful and useful post! Especially for people who would like to begin writing or making art.

    Most people imagine that in order to write or make art, that they must wait to be inspired. Truth is, most days we are not inspired. We're busy, we have other things calling us. Sometimes I feel bored, anxious, sullen or moody. Or the beauty of nature is calling me outside to bask in a glorious sunny day. There are so many distractions and excuses not to write or paint.

    We can't just wait for the mood to strike. It is the exact opposite. I'm a painter and I write a blog. I do it by showing up to the laptop or canvas. I write when I'm bored and feel I have nothing to say. Same goes for painting.

    There are days that I have a photo or a still life set up and I begin. Days when the work just flows and comes alive. There are also days when nothing is good. I wipe off the canvas or save my writing to draft for a try tomorrow.

    It's all in "the doing". The preparation, the mixing of colors, the application of paint to canvas. I then wander to the other world. A place which opens its doors only when I'm in the process of making art.

    A place where the mundane tasks and pressures of this world fade. Into an ethereal existence, where I float on streams of bliss.


    You have a lovely blog here and I enjoyed sharing my thoughts.

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    1. Denise, what beautiful thoughts you shared here. These words are pearls of wisdom, and if I were you I’d use them in a blog post of my own. Just reading this inspires me, and I’m sure all your readers will appreciate hearing your experience.
      Moods do affect our creativity. But even on cloudy or stormy days we can still paint or write. We can paint the dark sky. It may not be masterpiece quality, but that’s the beauty of art. If you don’t like what’s on the canvas or page you get to start all over. It is all in the doing. But still, I love that ethereal state of creative bliss.
      Did you ever read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron?

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  35. John wooden once said, "action precedes motivation". I think it's like your student said – just do it and let the inspiration catch YOU instead of chasing after it. Grabbing the net and capturing the butterfly instead of waiting for it to light up on your finger. In this year of blogging I've learned to write so much better by reading so many people whose words inspire me – like your words. My writing is nothing like it was at the beginning – just that year ago – I look back and want to hide all of those early posts I thought were so brilliant. Anyway, I still write six posts a week – my inspiration is our Lord – I write best when I talk with Him – and then just write about it. Inspired as always, thank you Debra, and God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours.

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    1. Good quote from John Wooden.
      “Just do it and let the inspiration catch YOU instead of chasing after it… Grabbing the net and capturing the butterfly instead of waiting for it to light on your finger.” Perfect poetic imagery. I’m stealing this, but I’ll credit you still ;-) Your writing has always been flavorful. Even from the get-go.

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  36. Great post, Debra. I've written about it several times, and I totally believe that "inspiration" is overrated and inefficient. I mostly have a subject in mind when I sit down to write but even if I don't, I start out by just free-writing whatever's on my mind without censorship, then the shape and structure of a formal piece "plops" out, as another commenter put it. It's a great feeling (and I'll leave it at that! ;p)

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    1. No matter how you roll the dice, SOMETHING will take shape if you keep up the practice. I don’t do as much free writing as I once did because of blogging. I figure that responding to comments is good enough practice ;-) And you have the springboard from which to start something brand new. Love hearing others’ thoughts and stories. Your post on LaBelle prompted my own record memories. But thanks for correcting me on “Ring my Bell!” Hello! I’m never make that mistake again ;-)

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    2. There's an art to blogging and you definitely have it, among your many writing talents! I really admire how you inspire people to think and share, and to explore. I going to bone up on my Hendrix! xox

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    3. Look whose talking! You creative soul, you.
      Hendrix was one of a kind, you know. Check out those lyrics sometimes. I just hate to hear about people like him and Whitney Houstin and the other artists who left here before their time. Or did they leave before their time?

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  37. So glad I found your blog and this post!!!! I am definitely in the aspiring writer category... And not a very good one, but I love the word and what it entails.

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    1. I’m now on your introvert list!
      Do stop by and answer the question,
      What has the experience of living out your purpose been like?
      http://www.unstuckandunstoppable.com/2012/05/living-out-her-purpose-debra-elramey.html

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  38. Debra, first of all, I want to say that your blog is very inspiring,intelligent,soulfoul as well as thought provoking !
    This post particularly helped me a lot to understand why people have a writer's block sometimes and how to get out of it. True, rather than waiting for "the muse" or for "the inspiration" to arrive before us, it is better to start writing/painting anyway.
    Writing/painting daily , writing randomly, etc.etc. are great tips to become a better writer/artist !
    I am a self taught photographer, writer and artist and a full time homemaker . You may visit my blog if you are interested.
    With lots of love,
    Sanghamitra
    {from India }

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    1. La Dolce Vita, you are doing just that. Don't you love being self-taught? Going at your own pace, being free to experiment?

      I made a bee-line for your magical place and found all kinds of treasures: mangoes, strawberries,ruby slippers...

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  39. Beautiful and inspirational...your words and quotes. I will remember that German word and note that the muse does not always have to be present to begin. Thanks for sharing. You have a beautiful blog.

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    1. Scarlet, I visited the Muse Café today and it appeared that the shop is closed? I mean, the place is there, and I joined the tribe, but I need some coffee! Go on and open shop again soon ;-) I’m there.

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  40. Debra, I do not sit down to write when I'm not inspired. I don't believe in writing a certain number of words a day or demanding my muse make an appearance if she's not into it. I do believe in trying to create the mood to write. Long walks with Roxy in the forest almost always guarantee that I will be inspired in some way. People watching, relaxing and thinking of childhood memories, conversations with my family, all of these serve to inspire me. I like your aids. Coffee and tea with honey are my poison of choice and they also serve to put me in high spirits. Ultimately, I think it's about the attitude we have towards writing. Do we do it because we want to or because we feel we have to? I don't want to think I "have" to do anything. This quickly turns something I love into a chore and takes the fun out of it. I know many bloggers feel they have to publish a certain amount of posts a week but I think that if your writing is good, your readers will always come back, no matter how often you post or not. I'm glad to see you're writing again, lady. I've missed you! :)

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    1. Bella, you have no idea how much your words hit the spot today. Especially these: “I know many bloggers feel they have to publish a certain amount of posts a week but I think that if your writing is good, your readers will always come back, no matter how often you post or not.” Thank you!
      Just between you and me, I believe that less is more sometimes. Because haven’t you read a few blogs that seem hard up for substance or color or meaning, or whatever it is that makes the writing worth reading? Those watered down posts just don’t hit the spot and feel like a waste of time more often than not. No, you just have to follow your own instincts and write, not according to what the herd recommends for success, but what suits you (and me).
      Did you give Roxy my birthday message?

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    2. My lady, I concur exactly. In addition to posts being "watered down," I find that readers can also tire of trying to keep up with an excessive amount of posts. As a result, you're left with watered down posts and little readers. Totally counterproductive if you ask me. I say, give me quality and not quantity. And give it to me, only when you truly feel inspired. It makes for a more satisfying read, don't you think? hee hee! Roxy did indeed receive your birthday message and sends you a big "bear" hug and many kisses! :)

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    3. Bella, I’m not even going to pretend to keep up with all the many posts. I have a few blog friends that I will continue to follow and read, but I can’t begin to keep up with the ones who post more than twice a week. How time consuming would THAT be! But I do enjoy checking in on your adventures because you aren’t one who HAS to say something. You actually have something to say! Big difference!

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  41. Its usually what I read, which leads me to think. Many of my posts start of as I read in the paper.. that set me thinking..Ha Ha..like the second last one on marriage. Then there are topics that stay in my head and then they are analysed processed for days months or even years, and then finally I know I am ready to spill it. My latest I hadnt noticed happened to be my 100th post quite coincidentally speaks about 100!

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    1. Jerly, I think it’s better to let the thoughts incubate in your mind for awhile; let them process a bit before posting. The writing is better and more thought-provoking than shallow trivia some present. I’ll have to swing by and check out your 100th! Hats off!

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  42. I loved this article Debra! Congratulations - you are one of my features this week at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy!

    Create With Joy
    http://create-with-joy.com

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    1. Thank you Ramona! I enjoy perusing your magical place, so full of inspiration and encouragement and friendship. xox

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  43. Great post! I usually sit down and just write anyway. It's funny but I always seem to have the last sentence or two in my head and then I have to fill in the "prolog" so to speak! :)

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    1. There you go. Just do it! Does it matter which comes first, the chicken or the egg? ;-)

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  44. I have a several blogs, and if I think I am going to have trouble writing, I pick one of those and start hammering away at something... When the blog is done, I usually can pick up other writing more easily... It's like stretching before starting to run, for me... Now if I would just actually run, too...

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    1. Michael, exactly what it's like: stretching before a run. I need more stretching! Have a great weekend!

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