As writers, where does our inspiration come from? In my writer’s magazines I read authors ‘ quotes on what inspires them to write: a printed quotation above their desk, a view from a window, a locked room and a blank screen. I dread to tell you where my inspiration comes from: alcohol.
There. I said it. Alcohol loosens up the muse inside me, sets it afloat and conjures up that elusive scene, that much-desired drama. Yeah, I just saw the movie “1408”. John Cusack tells Samuel L. Jackson, “Of course I drink. I’m a writer.” And yes, I can relate. I hope at least a few of you out there can.
But before you condemn me for an alcoholic, or think me nutty, hear me out. I work my days at a job that leaves my brain free to roam. I work on autopilot, all the while I create my settings, rehearse my character quotes, make my notes for that evening’s writing session, and straighten out plot kinks. I’ve written my books out ahead of time all the while earning my day’s wage.
Thus, I trained my mind to get creative in the evenings after my work day – while I drink my wine. I wrote four books in four years, published two and am currently working on another. All the while I try to keep my books fresh on the Internet, market my name and my work, beg for reviews and above all keep writing. I squish two full time jobs into one and have no social life.
However. There’s always a ‘however’ there, yes? I can’t work my day job while it’s raining. Since we’re in a drought here in South Texas, it hasn’t rained much over the last few years. I take pictures for my living, and cameras and rain mix like, er, cameras and rain. Just as well, since the pictures turn out crappy with a drippy background. No one likes photos with rain drops on the lens. My boss once gave me an award for working in the rain followed by a comment, “No thought to my equipment, jeez.”
So rain days make handy writing days, yes? You’d think so. I remember a few years ago writing the entire day while it rained outside and my brain – not my head, – my brain hurt. I fed my horses in the drizzle feeling numb. Yet, I also felt elation. One day, when I can write for a living, I can write all day long. This just proved it. I have the discipline, I have what it takes to write full time.
I haven’t managed another rainy day like that one for quite a while. Today was a perfect example. I knew I couldn’t work all day with the remnants of a Mexican hurricane headed into Texas. I scoped the radar, watched as it approached and headed home with the wrath of Manuel on my tailpipe. Once home, I turned on my computer and – surfed the mighty World Wide Interweb.
I wasn’t entirely lazy. I didn’t just surf, you know. I read some news. Some of it was actually interesting. I did do some marketing, requested reviews for my books, paid for a blog tour (I swear, I only scrolled down Facebook timelines for, er, uh, a half hour ), sent some e-mails and opened my manuscript.
Nothing happened. I checked on my horses, paced my living room, investigated the temperature in my house with the doors open and the rain falling. Still hanging at 82 degrees, dammit. Won’t this bloody state ever cool off? Thought about my writing and felt zero inspiration. I knew I needed to write. I felt inspired, dammit! But that had been several hours ago. I tripped over a cat or three, did some house cleaning, fed my horses and finally opened a beer. I wasn’t entirely lazy, though. I did read my Writer’s Digest magazines as I fixed my dinner and ate it. That’s work, isn’t it? Technically? Yes?
Finally, I turned on my computer and wrote. I drank my wine, wrote, pondered and the muse opened her wings, and I drank more wine. I wrote for hours, and what I wrote was halfway decent, too. I followed my plot, my subplot and actually came up with something good. However, only my readers will know for sure.
So this begs the question: Does my wine turn on my muse and loosen my thoughts and inhibitions? Or is it that I’ve trained my brain for years to work physically through the day and creatively through the evenings? Or are my bio-mechanics geared toward higher mental energy in the late afternoons and nighttime?
Remember the days when the newspapers printed your bio-rhythms? During my running days, I ran harder and faster in the late afternoons or evenings. On those rare times I ran in the mornings, I swear my mother and her walker outclassed me. For years I trained my horses in the late afternoons, then fed them at 5 o’clock. My sister tells me she’s best in the early mornings and brain-dead come eight o’clock. How much of my issue is years of training myself to be this way and how much is bio-mechanics? Am I simply more creative in the evenings since my bio-rhythms are peaking then? Is alcohol even a factor, despite my love of my wine as I write?
Or am I lush whose inhibitions are loosened by cheap wine?
Your guess is as good as mine.