I guess Edison said it, something like: "Genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration." That's true, but that dash of inspiration is SO necessary. I'm willing to work really hard on my writing, but there has to be a spark that makes me want to do so, make me feel, as one writer put it, that I am the only one who can tell the story.

One thing that helps is professional magazines. Over the last week, I got no less than four, and I set them aside, a little daunted at the task of pouring through that much reading material. This morning, however, I shouldered the task and got what I knew I would get: inspiration. Despite the fact that it's a little "whelming" (not over, just regular) to see so many writers out there and read praise for their work, it's also helpful to know what writers know: there isn't a formula for Right, just Write. Articles on craft, which are almost always things you've read somewhere else, nevertheless benefit in two ways. They remind you of what you want to accomplish or improve on, and they reveal that others struggle with the same things you do.

So even if they're repetitive, even if they list dozens of authors all vying for that little slice of success you'd like for yourself, even though you know that most of the advisers don't know any more about what will succeed than you do, reading stuff on writing inspires us, makes us want to get back to the computer or the pad of paper and see if we can't do a little better. That 10% inspiration gears us up for the 90% that is hard, hard work.

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Comment by Peg Herring on December 1, 2008 at 3:29am
Hey, I taught English, not math!
Comment by Eric Christopherson on November 30, 2008 at 9:35pm
FYI, Edison said 1percent inspiration, 99% perspiration.

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