Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Inspiration vs Routine

How do you make room for bursts of creativity in your routine? How do you impose routine on inspiration?

There are hundreds of writing/advice books sporting differing schools of thought. Some say a strict schedule will choke the imagination. Just sit and write when the mood strikes. Others say discipline gives inspiration a place to go, room to make itself comfortable, when it shows up.

I don't want my words, my stories, to feel like they're just the next one on the conveyor belt - "Okay, one story done, next. Keep 'em moving! Write 'em, submit 'em. Next!" And yet, without some sort of schedule, I'd just watch reruns of CSI and Law & Order: SVU all day. (Hmm, wouldn't that be a routine in itself? Maybe throw in some Project Runway and Top Chef for variety?)

For example, according to my schedule today, I am - right now - supposed to be polishing a flash fiction piece. Instead, I am writing this post because I was intrigued by the idea of routine vs. inspiration; I was "inspired." So, my routine is off, but something positive and productive came out of it. Was I moved by creativity or was I just lazy?

Is there a right way and a wrong way to move through this writing life? Or do we all have to find our own way, and does that way change as we do?