Quote of the Week: “One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.” Annie Dillard
Writing Exercise of the Week: Write for 10 minutes about a time you didn’t like your hair.
I think inspiration’s about to hit. Are you ready to take it and run?
You might be wondering what I mean by inspiration. Am I referring to a good idea? A crazy impulse? The clouds parting and a booming voice from the heavens telling you what to do?
Yes to any and all of the above.
I know this might sound like crazy making. We live in a world that thrives on evidence and proof. We have been trained not to rely on our instincts or hunches (unless, of course, we have evidence that it will work). Impulsive behavior is considered irresponsible as is anything that’s spur-of-the-moment or seat-of-your-pants. Is it carefree or careless? Who knows what will happen if you go down that path?
As they say, there’s only one way to find out.
This is not permission to throw caution to the wind (well, maybe it is). But when we talk about living a creative life, we’re talking about paying attention to the world around us. We’re talking about taking it in, about being a part of it.
Is it any surprise, then, that the word “inspiration” also means to draw in a breath, an inhalation? When we’re inspired, we take in what’s there. We bring it in—it’s meant to be metabolized into our system, changing from one thing into something else (like oxygen to carbon dioxide). When inspiration strikes, its original form is transformed into something uniquely ours, our own creative expression to share with the world. Give 10 writers the same two characters about to fall in love and you’ll have 10 different stories. Guaranteed.
When we’re inspired, we feel it. It’s visceral. All systems are go—we’re excited, we’re pumped up, we can’t wait to see what happens next. We want to get going now. We don’t want to wait, we don’t want to consider the pros and cons, we aren’t interested in your approval. We just know it’s the right thing to do.
So do it.
Write that book, take that trip, buy that house. Lacking resources? If you’re truly inspired, creative solutions will reveal themselves. True inspiration is hard to shake—it’s not easily discouraged. If anything, it gets naggy when you don’t pay attention to it. Inspiration isn’t a good idea for later—it’s a good idea for now. In this moment. Getting practical is the worse thing you can do—inspiration isn’t governed by practical. It’s governed by hope. Excitement. Possibility. Inner joy.
When you give up on practical and align with inspiration, funny things start to happen. Coincidences. Good timing. Unexpected help. Inspiration finds a way—it always does. Here’s another thing: inspiration grows when you take it and run—it’s exponential. Great thinkers like Einstein and Descartes and da Vinci didn’t just have one idea—they had many. They didn’t just write one book or paint one painting—the masterpieces kept on coming.
The next time inspiration strikes, don’t wait. Choose an action. Make a decision. See where it leads. Engage with it, take it in, make it yours.
Darien Gee is a national bestselling author based in Waimea. She also writes under the name Mia King. Her latest book, Writing the Hawai‘i Memoir: Advice and Exercises to Help You Tell Your Story, is available from booksellers and gift shops, including Bentleys Home Collection in Parker Square. For a list of Darien’s upcoming writing and publication classes, visit dariengee.com.