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ArtiqueFox's avatar

Writers: can you just sit down and write or do you need inspiration first?

Asked by ArtiqueFox (974points) February 15th, 2010

(This includes everything from casual novelists to freelance writers.)

Can you just sit down at any location at any time and write? Or do you need to a spark of inspiration first? Do the words just come or do you find it necessary for something to trigger your “creative spree”?

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18 Answers

marinelife's avatar

A little bit of both.

Strauss's avatar

It depends on the subject. Sometimes I can just sit down and write volumes about a subject. This sometimes happens when I’m posting a reply on a Fluther thread. It might take me more time to edit it down to something reasonable that it took me to type it in at first.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

As far as poetry and/or songwriting goes, words/music will just come to me and I have to stop and write it down right away or else I forget it all. Other times it comes to me in dreams, or in that place that’s in between being awake and being asleep.

For writing, I can usually hold on ideas for a long time before I write anything down, or I’ll jot down notes. But I’m very detail oriented so when it comes to story writing I need to do research before I can write down anything. It drives me crazy. Ideas generally come to me when I walk in the woods, or am alone going somewhere I love, like the ocean, etc. But I could probably just sit down and crank something out if I had to.

TexasDude's avatar

I need to be in a specific mood. I’ve got three and a half novels going on right now, and I cannot work on them unless I’m in the exact mood I was in the last time I worked on each individual work. It kindof sucks.

KhiaKarma's avatar

Depends, when I have a “block” it’s good to sit down and just write o’s across the page just to keep in the habbit of writing something. Sometimes something will just come to me that way, or I will just write about not having anything to write. Or I doodle and tap into my other creative outlet.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I can be purposefully focused, produce by responding to others or inspired out of the blue. What excites me is when I actually like something I wrote no matter how I got there. Usually I write at least ten things, sometimes more before I really like one.

HungryGuy's avatar

I need inspiration first. Though inspiration comes to me fairly often, and usually at night while I’m in bed before I fall asleep or in the early hours of the morning after I awaken but before I’m ready to get out of bed. I keep a notepad by the side of my bed. Whenever I get a new idea, I have to write it down as an outline, and maybe a couple of paragraphs to start the story, so I don’t lose the idea.

My problem is actually the opposite of too little inspiration. I have so many ideas and outlines written down that I’d never be able to write all the stories in my backlog even if I did nothing but write 24/7 for the next several years.

susanc's avatar

You can’t shut me and my typewriter up.

I mean, my computer.

nebule's avatar

I think I could write forever if I had the time

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

Someone who works for cash understands you can’t wait for inspiration to happen. You have a deadline. Besides, writers understand the Muse is irresistibly drawn to the smell of hard work. —(The previous is attributed to Robert Masello‘s Robert’s Rules of Writing: 101 Unconventional Lessons Every Writer Needs to Know.)

lifeflame's avatar

For me, the best time is fresh, first thing in the morning.
But I think any serious writer needs to learn to tap into the source even when you don’t feel inspired.
For me, I write different things and in different languages in different moods. So if I am stuck in English, I might switch to Chinese to kick start something. Or it may be that I need to go out into a cafe to write, or hide in my room. It all depends.

phoebusg's avatar

Just a decision. You just sit down, write, write, write. It may be useless until sense kicks in. But once it does. You are writing, but also something useful worth saving. What matters most is just doing it, and keeping on doing it. There are no right conditions, there are right decisions. Well maybe some conditions may be conductive to writing – but they are not the requirement.

ChaosCross's avatar

I usually don’t need inspiration to continue my story, but every now and again I’ll get inspired and it can really put some more FLAVA FLAV into what I’m writing.

rovdog's avatar

I agree that you just need to get into the habit of writing when you don’t feel inspired. You might write what you feel is junk for hours on end and then suddenly get inspired when you come across a certain idea or phrase. I think there are ways to jump start yourself when you are in the middle of writing and stuck. Going for a walk is always a good one for me. I like to noodle around on my guitar for about 15 minutes and usually I can come back and focus. When I’m inspired I can write for hours on end- sometimes almost 8 hours straight with a few breaks- when I’m not- it’s a semi labor intensive process of writing a bit, walking around a bit, playing my guitar, writing some more, etc. Oddly- I’ve found that both methods can produce adequate work- sometimes I’m surprised how much I end up liking scenes that were produced during grueling uninspired blank page filling sessions when I look back at them later. (I write films and plays.)

TheJoker's avatar

Not so much a spark of inspiration, as ideas aren’t an issue for me, more that I have to be in a good frame of mind.

Coloma's avatar

I have forced myself into some exercises and they have turned out moderately well.

Over all though I require a specific mindest and inspiration.

Inspired_2write's avatar

A trigger for me is quietness, stillness. Almost a meditative state.
let the mind wander..think of nothing except enjoy the present.

NanoNano's avatar

The writing comes first, the inspiration follows.

You have to chain your muse to the desk to get her to work for you on a consistent basis.

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