Inspired to Write

Recently, I was interviewed about my writing. One of the questions focused on my writing environment and when and where I was inspired to write.

When I was much younger, I forced myself to write. That’s right. Forced. I’d take out a piece of paper and pen and lay them out on a desk in front of me, or I’d sit perched over my typewriter, waiting for an idea to come to me. Sometimes, I waited a long time. Usually, I’d come up with nothing.

Randy Over Typewriter

I did this because I had read about famous writers saying, “You must write everyday!” or that if you just started doodling or writing random thoughts, a great idea would emerge from this.

Every time I forced myself to write, the writing would resemble exactly that: forced. Lacking imagination; one-dimensional.

I’m not against other writers forcing themselves to write. It just doesn’t work for me.

As I got older, I let the ideas come to me. As all writers know (As all artists know, for that matter), an inspiration might come in the middle of the night or in a restaurant or on an airplane.

One of the interview questions asked where I write best and I said, “Outdoors in a foreign country.” However, now when I sit down to write (Always in pen first, then on a laptop), I have already formulated the idea for the short story or poem or novel. I still have to sit at times, perplexed, but not because I have no idea for my theme. It is usually because I have to think of my characters’ traits or how to make a sentence stand out.

I never do start writing until the idea has been fixed in my brain.

On a side note, I recently had an interview for a grade 6 teaching position. One of the last comments asked of me was, “Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?”

I mentioned that I had self-published a children’s book, probably aimed at children at the grade 6 level. I said I would never promote it in class: this would be unprofessional. But it would be good for the students to know that I was on their level when it comes to writing rough drafts and then revising. It’s a long, at times, tedious cycle.

I thought I did excellently in the interview but, alas, did not get the job.

Perhaps I was too ebullient about my writing. And to get some kind of ebullience from me takes awhile.



About randycoates

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.
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