The True Cost Of Inspiration and Creativity
Many write about what inspires them creatively, but I can’t answer that. Inspiration for me is just that: inspiration. I have no process, no way to put my finger on how it happens, it just does. One second I have a blank canvas (my idea spot in my brainpan) and the next moment the idea is there. Many times almost fully formed.
So, for me at least, inspiration is the easy part. I am a wealth of inspiration. I have inspiration coming out of the wazoo. I can pave the streets with inspiration.
The problem for me, though, is time. That is finite (for us mortals, at least). There is only so much time in the day/week/month/year. And novels (since I’m a writer guy) take months to complete. I currently have six novels planned. Each novel takes me 3 months for the first draft. That means if I worked back to back on novels I could have six first drafts done in a year and a half! Wow!
But, that ain’t gonna happen. I podcast my novels which means time for recording and editing. That’s a few hours of work per hour of finished audio. I also have promotion to do for current novels already published. More time for writing short stories and blogs. Plus, I have to edit the current novels I have in the works. Not to mention the fact I will need to get those darn things published and that takes time. Lots of time. Lots and lots and lots of time.
So my cost for inspiration and to live a creative life (part-time, mind you) is my time. And that is very, very precious to me. You see, I have this thing called a Family. Wife, two kids, you get the picture. That is my number one priority in life. And is also pure chaos that is always struggling to break free of the jar it is held in. I can schedule ten hours for the week to write, but that ten hours can be hacked away at very quickly. If I get five hours a week of solid writing done then I’m happy. Good thing I write fast or I’d never get anything done.
Now, I’m not whining. I do hope all this time cost will pay off in future monetary rewards (that’s cash, kids). But the reality is that I will fall under the 95% of writers that do not make a living wage at their art. Yep, you heard that right, folks, 95% of writers have a…wait for it…job! Day jobs, night jobs, two jobs, side jobs, summer jobs, etc. Only about 5% actually can make a living off their writing. I am not one of those. And jobs take…wait for it again…time!
All of that makes my time even more precious. It’s crazy. When I started writing I never thought time would be my issue. I figured I’d be struggling with ideas, struggling with my craft, struggling to get anything published. Nope. I have all of those covered. But the one thing I can’t cover (unless Hollywood comes knocking on my door with a big fat check) is time. It is out of my control.
So, the next time you get a burst of inspiration, make sure you do something about it while you have the time. Don’t put that idea off, don’t let it sit for another day, because, honestly, that other day may never come. Or, if it does, it will be double booked. Trust me.