Some days the words just won't come. No matter how long I sit here at my computer screen, no matter how many images I sort through seeking inspiration, the words remain shy, reticent, reluctant and obstinate. Those are the days when what I really need to do is push through, keep writing, keep tapping away at these keys until they bend to my will and release the words trapped inside my brain.
What I usually do, though, is deflect. I get stuck, so I find distractions. Check the email. Peek at Instagram. Sneak onto Facebook. Two hours later I lament the fact that I "never have time to write."
It's not that I can't write. It's not that I lack time or talent. What I lack is determination.
Once I heard a fitness instructor give a perfect illustration of why inspiration has little to do with long-term fitness. She said that inspiration was not the reason that she brushed her teeth every single day and night, even when she was tired, even when it would be easier to skip. She wasn't inspired to brush her teeth. She brushed her teeth because she was dedicated - dedicated to good oral hygiene and fewer painful trips to the dentist.
I squeegee my shower every single day. I hate doing it. There is nothing fun or inspirational about it. I do it because if I don't wipe down the glass and tile every time I use the shower, the moisture breeds mold and it takes a very long time and some rather strong chemicals to clean. I am dedicated to keeping my shower mold-free, so I do what needs to be done, even when I would rather not be bothered.
My dream is to be a writer. I want to write a book - but not just any book. A really, really good book. One people can't put down. One that sticks with you long after you read it. I want to write characters that make an impact. I want to write themes that touch hearts and change minds. I want it - but am I DEDICATED to that goal? Am I dedicated to my dream, or am I chasing inspiration?
Inspiration is unreliable - she is a tease. She visits with you, flirts with you, excites you and then...she suddenly gives you the cold shoulder. You never know for sure when she will show up again, or what kind of mood she'll be in when she gets here. Once she comes, you never know when she's going to leave. That's not the spirit I want to pin all my hopes on.
This year I am simplifying everything, including my dream of becoming a writer. I am going to chase down the words on the days when they won't come. I am going to show up and write, every single day. I am going to stop spinning wheels, seeking to be inspired. Instead I am dedicating myself to working hard and achieving my dream and my life's purpose.
What's your dream? And what's your take on inspiration vs. dedication? I'd love some feedback!