Tern, tern, tern

Inspiration doesn’t always come easily, even when I stick to routine, write on schedule, and tempt my creativity with the sights and sounds that bring me ideas and the peace of mind to pursue them.

I can do all the right things, and still sit down at the keyboard only to find that I have nothing to say.

That’s not the case for me today, however. Today I have far too much to say, about too many topics. My thoughts are like this flock of terns at the beach this morning, each taking flight at the same time and not necessarily with the same destination in mind.

Royal Terns, Jax Beach, 5-14-12

I find this harder to deal with than what is traditionally known as writer’s block. I cannot, after all, write simultaneously on multiple projects at once, no matter how much my mind wishes to do so.

Or can I?

I used to think that was a no-no, that to be disciplined as a writer I had to force my brain to work on just one project at a time. When I had days like this I would refuse to add even a word or a note to anything but the work in progress at that time. This didn’t make me more productive. And worse yet, I seemed to forget those bursts of inspiration for other projects when the time came to work on them. Eventually I gave up on my one-at-time rule and focused instead on trying to keep up with ideas as I had them, even if that meant working on more than one thing at a time.

This is one of those days when I have files for multiple projects open, adding bits to one and editing pieces of another. I may not feel like I have accomplished much on any particular project by the end of the day, but at least I’ll have the comfort of knowing that I didn’t miss the chance to add any of the ideas I have flying through my head to their appropriate projects.

Here’s to creativity taking flight, and to holding on for the ride!

Just keep writing

Sea Star, Jax Beach, FL, Jan. 9, 2012

A Sea Star I saw as I walked the beach today searching for inspiration.

Like most writers I have my little tricks for those days when I don’t feel inspired to write. Music. Caffeine. A walk on the beach.

All three failed me today. The only thing I felt inspired to do was nap.

Napping, however, is rarely compatible with meeting deadlines.

What do I do when a deadline beckons and all I have to offer is a white screen, doubts, and regret? Well, I complain to anyone who will listen and also to those who won’t. Then, as a last resort, I usually just sit down and write.

Yep, that’s right. I just write. I write anything, even if that means I write “I don’t want to write a blog post” for line after line. I just keep writing until I have something to work with. Once I have words in front of me, I can cut and rearrange until I have something readable.

I was given this advice decades ago when I first started writing seriously. I have given it to other writers. But it never gets old. I’ve yet to meet a writer that doesn’t need to hear it over and over again.

Just keep writing.