Waiting for inspiration to write? Never going to happen by Khaled Talib

Khaled Talib is a Singapore-based former journalist whose articles were syndicated worldwide and whose short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Khaled on two novels, Incognito (World Castle Publishing) and his latest, Gun Kiss (Imajin Books). Today Khaled stops by to warn that if you’re waiting for inspiration to write, you may be waiting for a long time.

Khaled Talib Waiting for inspiration to write your novel? Never going to happen…

I met someone recently who told me she was waiting for inspiration to write her novel. I replied bluntly by saying that it’s not going to happen. She was shocked by my response, so I felt compelled to explain to her how it works… at least in my case.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard people say how they’re waiting for inspiration to start writing. I wish it was that easy just as much as I wish the tooth fairy existed and Genies lived in brass lamps. Just imagine if the staff of every advertising agency waited for inspiration to produce a print or TV commercial… that would be the end of their business. Similarly, a song writer or a band doesn’t wait for the gods to bestow them a number one hit. The same goes for screenwriters who churn out movies or episodes of a hit television show. You can go fishing and sit on the boat for hours staring into the water, but it doesn’t work that way when it comes to writing a novel.

Simply put, you can’t wait for inspiration. The idea is a fallacy. Start writing no matter what. There are several ways to start writing. You could create a storyboard to take you from beginning to end or you could experiment as you go along. Expect to rewrite and revise repeatedly before the final, polished product materializes.

How can you possibly begin? The answer lies within us, in the power of imagination. Do you honestly believe Ernest Hemingway waited for inspiration? “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Hemingway knew there was more to writing than wait for the magic dust to be sprinkled on the writer’s head.

The techniques of writing can be self-taught, or you could attend a school or a workshop. But you must stimulate your mind to encourage creativity as no one can help you but you. The point I’m trying to make is that you must keep writing no matter what. Louis L’ Amour said it best: “Start writing no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” Find your way inside the story after you’ve written the first sentence. Be your own guide. If you don’t, and expect to wait for inspiration, all you’ll get is a rusty funnel.

As I always say, waiting till you feel like writing is like waiting for a train at an abandoned station. So, don’t wait for inspiration.

Khaled Talib has authored three thrillers since 2014. His work has been praised by NY Times bestselling authors Gayle Lynds, Ruth Harris, and Keith Thomson, USA Today bestselling author Jon Land, K.J. Howe and Jon McGoran. His debut thriller, Smokescreen, was listed as one of the six “boundary-breaking indies” in 2016 by the IndieReader. His second novel, Incognito, won the Silver Award for the AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest 2017. Gun Kiss is his third novel. The author, who resides in Singapore, is a member of the UK Crime Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers. To learn more about Khaled, visit his website.

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