Don’t wait for the Divine Afflatus

It doesn’t have to be a “divine afflatus” as the ancient Greeks might have touted.

It doesn’t have to wait for you to be “in the mood” or able to grasp an entire, heart-engaging scene.

Sometimes, writing is just plugging away. Like we do every day, all day.

I have domestic duties that involve changing the hand towel in the bathroom.  Getting dishes from the sink to the dishwasher. Sweeping the floors.  Straightening the cushions on the sofa.  Defrosting meat for dinner.

These little things are disparate, yet contribute to the whole that is a welcoming, warm home.  A totality of environment that I create and encourage in steps that I sometimes have to make myself take.

With a story, it can be much the same. Sometimes, the whole, beautiful concept is there and it’s inspirational and I lose myself in the wow-filled wonder of my own brain.

But often? It’s the sentence here, the sentence there. The working on more than one story. Making myself write out what the hero is thinking here, what the heroine is going to say, there.

But if you wait for it to be a “mood” or wait for “everything to be just so” – if you wait for that “divine afflatus” you might not ever finish what you’ve started.

The major masterpieces we’ve grown up with were written one word at a time. Sometimes, those words were hard-won.  Sometimes, they were agonized over. Sometimes, cherished authors growled into their manuscripts and felt like the book would never, ever make sense. They “lost” a voice. They experienced “writer’s block.”

But they didn’t quit. They kept at it. One. Word. At. A. Time.

Maybe today will be a creative whirlwind. Maybe it’ll just be a puff of breath. Just…write. Just breathe.

The words add up.  Really.