Magazine | 8:31 pm | December 1, 2011 | By Arielle Stambler

When Inspiration Strikes

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Photo by Creative Commons.

You know the situation: your big essay is due tomorrow, and you still haven’t started it. Sure, you have done some planning, some brainstorming, found some quotes to include, but the actual writing of the essay has not yet begun. It’s fine, you tell yourself. If you have done the planning, the essay will practically write itself, right?

Wrong. At least for me. I can plan and plan what I want to say in an essay or an article or even a blog post before I start writing, but when all is said and done, the idea that I end up writing about can come from anywhere but the planning stage. It comes out of the act of writing itself. I know that something has to happen through the writing process that sparks an idea I can run with, and at times that’s scary. Maybe I just got lucky last time. Maybe I just happened to be sitting in the most comfortable chair in Bass last time and that’s what got my juices flowing. Who knows when inspiration will strike, or if it will strike at all.

In truth, though, I know that there is nothing like the moment when I’m typing an awful sentence and suddenly I figure out what I’m really trying to say. And from that moment on, I’m in my sweet spot, typing away, totally absorbed in the thread of thought I’m following, and loving it. It’s a process that almost can’t happen until the deadline is so close my eyeballs are touching it, until I’m pressed against a wall and have no choice but to write. In those oddly peaceful moments after the writing has begun, the channel between my brain and my keyboard at last opens up. Those are the moments when nothing else exists but my thoughts and me, when nothing else matters but writing.

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