Guest Post: On Inspiration and Imagination


So, it’s Friday – 10 days, nine hours, fourteen minutes and forty five seconds … forty four seconds …forty three seconds to my first Nanowrimo, and the day I should have my blog post finished.

Finished! Started would be pretty good.

As usual, there have been lots of good intentions and fresh ideas. Lots of times that my mind has wandered off into the wild blue yonder in search of inspiration, and been inspired, truly.

Yes, inspiration does strike when you least expect it. Which is why none of these inspirations have hit the screen or seen the paper – I haven’t been expecting them so I haven’t kept a note of them.

The best time is when I’m walking the dog. Each time I put his lead on I think about taking a notebook out with me, but as I don’t want to carry anything carry I tell myself that if inspiration strikes I will dictate into my mobile. So, there I am, a couple of miles from home when, suddenly out of nowhere the ideal solution as to how the judge was really murdered pops into my head. That’s when I realise that my phone is not mobile but static … on the dining table!

So, it’s NaNoWriMo in ten days, nine hours, six minutes and twelve seconds and I have actually spent most of October preparing for it. Well, not exactly; I have actually spent the majority of October planning to prepare for it; the rest has been preparing to prepare for it.

I started off at a gallop. Writing lists, plotting plots, sketching characters …

The problem is, once I have planned something I forget about it – it’s as though my brain thinks I have actually done the task I had planned for. Sports psychologists tell us that when we are training for an event or a match we should envisage the whole thing, step by step. Envisage each hole on the golf course and envisage playing the perfect shot. Imagine walking off the eighteenth green knowing that you have won – this apparently will give your brain the knowledge that it can succeed, and gives your subconscious a way of achieving that success.

However, my imagination is so vivid that as soon as I’ve imagined writing The End” at the bottom of my final chapter, my brain thinks I’ve actually written my book and goes into congratulation mode! I then envisage myself standing on stage accepting a prize for my debut novel, but I need to lose a couple of stones first; I picture myself having finished a diet and weighing 8 stone so now my brain is telling me to go out shopping for size eight clothes. As I can’t actually afford a brand new wardrobe I imagine becoming a best-selling author with a huge advance for a series of novels; I see myself paying the cheque into the bank, being invited into the manager’s office for advice as to how best to invest my millions and then walking to my favourite jewellers. So, by now I’m a size eight, incredibly wealthy prize winning novelist. I don’t actually have to write another word, it’s taken me about ten minutes to visualise it and my brain thinks that’s it, time to relax with a cup of tea!

Of course, I don’t just imagine the cup of tea – I actually leave my desk to go and make it and then I have to take the dog for a walk. You know what happens next: I get really inspired but, of course, have no pen or paper with me and instantly forget the inspiration. So hours after I started I’ve been inspired to do absolutely nothing.


No, these psychologists have got it wrong, for me in any event. What they should be doing is telling me not to think of the end product, but to think about the enthusiasm I have at the start of a project. The excitement of having the idea and settling down to actually write. The feeling of satisfaction I will have of actually completing the first chapter, not the first series. I need to find a way of making myself sit down on a daily basis and actually getting words onto the paper.

But, prior to that, I need to find my shopping lists and get off my bottom to go and buy stuff and then come back and actually cook it and freeze it, not just imagine it. Then I’ll really feel prepared to sit down and write a novel in a month. Roll on November.  Roll on NaNoWriMo – bring it on – I can do it – I already have, just now, in my head!


Mobile             =          Cellphone

8 stone             =          112 lbs

Size 8              =          Size 4


This great  across the pond post comes from a Nano first timer, the lovely Rita Bailey! Best of luck Rita!

BTW, I ❤ the Glossary!

I’m Rita Bailey (also known on NaNoWriMo as RitaMeekat and on Twitter as QuirkyJibbles) from beautiful Lincoln in the UK. I love writing and am lucky enough to spend my time writing blurb for other people’s websites, which is probably why I haven’t yet got a website of my own!

I’ve got at least two books in my head, one of which I’m currently working on for NaNo (I’m a NaNo Newbie) and the other is a historical novel for which I’m doing loads of research. When I’m not writing I spend my time planning to write (which is what I call it when I’m reading, walking the dog, daydreaming etc).


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