There’s a lot of excellent advice to be gleaned from Candy Gourlay’s lovely reflection on Sara Zarr’s SCBWI conference keynote speech, but what really stuck with me was this: “You have to have faith that if you show up to the page something will happen.”
It is alarmingly, destructively easy to justify putting off writing. Every writer is familiar with the litany of ready-made excuses: “I’m not done outlining.” “I have to finish this character sketch.” “I’m just not feeling it today.” “You can’t force inspiration.”
That last one is particularly dangerous in its allure — because you can’t force inspiration, not really. True, reckless-abandon, lose-track-of-time, alive-with-the-joy-of-creating inspiration streaks into spontaneous existence like a rainbow across a previously gloomy sky. But while a rainbow can’t be willed into appearing, certain conditions are inarguably more likely to produce one — and the same goes for inspiration.
My favorite mantra from my beloved National Novel Writing Month is “You can’t edit a blank page.” You have to start with words, no matter what those words may be. You have to give inspiration a chance to appear, provide it with the conditions it needs to thrive.
So show up to the page. Something will happen.