Inspiration for Writers: Finishing What You Start

On this page, you'll find important information about inspiration for writers. At the bottom of the page are links to prompts and ideas to energize your writing.

Recently, we've received a few e-mails from writers who have trouble finishing what they start.

They lose interest in the middle or get distracted by new ideas which seem more interesting than the one they're working on.

Here's what writer said: "I may start out enthusiastic about what I want to write and along the line, after about a thousand words, I don't feel like looking at it any more. It just feels old and boring and then I stop writing. I try thinking up new ideas but I've just lost the fire."

New ideas are exciting. When that newness is gone, the ideas lose some of their glamour.

The bright, shiny surface wears off, and it's easier to see the imperfections underneath. That's just what happens to ideas over time.

So, as a writer, how do you stay inspired long enough to finish something like a screenplay or a novel?

The most important thing to remember is that *you don't have to stay inspired*. It's not necessary to feel inspired all the time. You can write anyway.

If you have a job, you probably don't always feel inspired to go to work, but you do it anyway. If you are raising children, you probably don't always feel inspired in your parenting, but you do it anyway.

You do it because you've made a commitment. You do it because the rewards are worth it.

Inspiration is wonderful. Inspiration is fun. Inspiration makes writing easier. There are techniques you can learn to help keep that fire burning.

But you don't need the fire. Knowing that is liberating. It puts you in control.

Do you want to finish that novel? Then you'll sit down every day and work on it until it's finished.

Some days, you may feel inspired. Other days, you may not. But you keep working anyway.

If you keep working, the inspiration tends to come back. You nurture what's left of the fire, that tiny flickering flame, and one day, it blazes back up.

But you don't need it. With or without it, you're going to finish what you've started.

And what you'll have at the end of this process is a poem or a story, a screenplay or a novel!

That's a reward that's well worth the effort.

So, some advice:

- Decide when you're ready to commit to a particular writing project. Then keep your commitment. On days when you're not inspired, treat your writing as a job.

- If ideas for new projects come up while you're in the middle of a manuscript, make a note of the ideas in a separate notebook so that you can come back to them later.

- For some (not all) writers, advance planning can help prevent a project from losing steam in the middle. If you're working with an outline or detailed notes, then even when you don't feel inspired, you'll always know what you can write next.

- Keep in mind the reward waiting for you at the end of the process.

"Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world." -- Tom Clancy

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