I have some quotes hanging on the wall around my computer, and in times when I am lacking inspiration, I find these help me find the way back to the path.
“Everything comes to those who hustle while they wait.” – Thomas Edison
If anything sums up the business of publishing, that one is it for certain. Publishing is a business of hurry up and wait.
- Hurry up and get that proposal in on time, then wait for feedback from the agent/editor.
- Hurry up and get those revisions in on time, then wait for the check.
- Hurry up and get that manuscript in, then wait for it to be released as a finished book.
But what if, while you are waiting, you hustle to start a new book or send out another proposal or query a new agent? Then that wait time becomes productive time, and you have a better chance of achieving your goals.
“Only those that risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot
This one can easily be applied to the craft of writing. Someone once said that there are only about fifty plots in the world. How is it possible then that so many books are published every year? (Way more than 50!) Because each author brings the uniqueness of voice and character and a twist to the plot that can make the same basic story sound completely different from another person’s version of the same.
But how far is too far? How much risk should you take? That becomes a personal decision, based on where you are in your writing career. A very successful author might be able to take risks a newer author might not. But then again, these days it is very hard to break into publishing, so maybe your work has to be riskier than others in order to be noticed and sell? This is a good one to contemplate. Sometimes taking the risk could simply mean submitting the work at all. If you never submit, you never have the opportunity to be successful.
“Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.” Madeline L’Engle
This is my favorite quote of all and probably the one that makes the most sense to every writer. Basically, if you are looking for inspiration, look to your own work and your own words and you will find it. Facing the blank screen isn't easy. It never is. But just the process of putting words on the page gets your creative juices going, and the next thing you know the words are flowing like water from your fingertips.
Any time I am blocked or stuck I look up and see these quotes on my wall. They remind me that I am not the first writer to be going through this, nor will I be the last. I hope they help you as well.