Friday, 11 May 2012

Inspiration: By Appointment

The torpid artist seeks inspiration at any cost, by virtue or by vice, by friend or by fiend, by prayer or by wine. Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the name of research and inspiration I’ve been on Pinterest, Facebook, design blogs, writers’ blogs, watched movies, read myriad books, searched quotes, lost myself in paintings, wondered in nature and engaged in absorbing conversations.
Writers are like magpies, collecting thoughts, ideas, phrases, and word pictures in a magnificent obsession. We carry a notebook in our mind, if not a literal one, to record inspiration.
Inspiration is found everywhere if we look for it, however, in the midst of the crowded landscape of life, how do we take inspiration and convert it into something tangible like a book?
How does a writer who does not have the luxury of a cleaner, nanny or chef, produce an amount of work that justifies listing one’s occupation as author in the midst of everyday life?
One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received is to make appointments with yourself. A personal trainer once told me that women are particularly poor at putting exercise as a priority in their lives. He told me to make appointments with myself and stick to them. It worked. I exercise every week at least 5 times and it’s become a lifelong habit.
I gave up a teaching job a few years ago to concentrate on my writing. However, in a gradual shift, other things such as ageing parents, children and significant life changes, have taken precedence. Volunteer work at home and in Cambodia, along with regular travel means life does not have a regular routine.
I have written and published two books; one manuscript is in review stage and one is being written. I am inspired, called, and compelled by God to write.
It’s time to make appointments with myself to write every day and not just fit in a self-imposed writer’s retreat or the last couple of hours in the day when I’m tired or on the road.
Inspiration provides the imperative to work, but sometimes I get sidetracked and don’t actually get down to write. I’m inspired but not necessarily converting that into a tangible product.
My husband keeps telling me to treat it as a job. So, what can I say to parents who need me and young adult children who want more of me? I have an appointment from this time to this time on this day and then I’m free.
Critique partners who want to see a chapter a week help keep me accountable and give me another appointment to keep.
It’s time to take the inspiration filling my head and finish those books.
Elaine Fraser


  1. Ah, Elaine. What a challenge! I have just written a blog bemoaning my lack of routine! Make an appointment with myself. I too keep that appointment to walk everyday. I must find a way to write every day. Thanks

  2. Yes, this is a challenge indeed. There's always something else. We have to balance the discipline of a routine with the inflexibility of obsessiveness.

    Having a physical space set aside as a 'writing retreat' can help somewhat, but physical space is often at the same premium as temporal space.

  3. Ooh, you've just hit my guilty spot, Elaine! OK, I'll make an effort even if it's not at a regular time which is impossible in my case. Thanks for the nudge.

  4. You voice my thoughts Elaine. There are a hundred and one reasons to write and a hundred and one reasons why we find it hard to make time for it. I hear you loud and clear.

    One thing I found is that things that keep us from our writing are also fodder and fuel for our writing.

    Thanks for sharing and may you find many wonderful spaces in the coming week to have time for your WRITING! :)

  5. I find that the more challenging the project I'm working at the more likely I am to procrastinate, but also - when I do finally buckle down and get into the work - the more rewarding it is!
    Oh, what a wretched writer I am... :)

  6. Hello Elaine, Its funny how men can give that advice...its because it's easier for men to forget other things and just do what they want to.
    My husband and I are both retired. I get up every morning to do house work before getting any writing done. Ray pleases himself what he does and then asks me how much work I have done on my book? LOL

    I think you do very well, especially since you also exercise. Congratulations.

  7. I agree Elaine. If I didn't make a 5am appointment with myself every morning, no writing would get done whatsoever. Thanks for the reminder. :)

  8. One of the things that inspired me the most was reading the story of a Christian CEO who had a meeting every day, at a specific time...with God.

    His secretary was instructed to make sure he was never disturbed, and to tell everyone he was in an important business meeting. Which, of course, he was.

    That impacted me, so much so, that I strive to do the same.

    I'm so glad you've found the exact sameness in your life. :)