RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#383: The Moment of Inspiration
I’m not comfortable using the word “writer” or “artist” when describing myself. Where I’m concerned, I find it pretentious for myself to wear the guise of an “artist”. But I do write, and what I have posted here does amount to my art. Within the context of music reviews, I use this platform to be creative and express myself. I’ve told my stories via Record Store Tales. Even though I don’t like calling myself a “writer” per se, I do spend a lot of time writing and trying to come up with fresh ideas. Writer’s block does exist. Many days go by when I can’t be arsed to write anything down.
When the inspiration to create strikes, it’s usually in an inconvenient setting. The car, where much of my music listening is done, has proven to be a great location for ideas. Sometimes it’s a mall, or a grocery store. Other times it’s in the middle of the night in bed! The key is being able to take quick notes and write down your ideas before they are gone. This takes determination but is well worth it, to tap those fleeting good ideas that we all get.
I’ve had one advantage that I’ve been happy to exploit: a huge backlog of unpublished reviews and stories. When creativity fails to strike, I was always able to dip into the pile and polish work up for posting. In a similar vein, my buddy Craig once told me, “Don’t be afraid to re-post a good idea that’s worth the exposure.” So sometimes I will even revamp something you’ve read before in a new way, and hopefully you haven’t noticed.
Once the creative juices start flowing, keeping the faucet turned on is the next challenge. My advice is to try to avoid second guessing yourself. Keep your work accessible, but write for you. Readers will offer their feedback. Some will be good advice, some will not be. I’ll give you two examples.
- A friend of mine found the length of some of my earlier articles to be too much. I found that, even if I had a lot to say about a matter, it was better to break it down into smaller parts. That way I can actually milk a story for longer, by posting multiple chapters instead of trying to squeeze it all into one. I also reduce the risk of losing the reader’s attention over a long ass story.
- A former co-worker at the Record Store made a point to send a lengthy email about my site. He was upset about the things I was saying and how I said them. He didn’t approve of the “great pains” that I took to poke fun at one or two people that he knows. This feedback had me questioning my direction, and considering whether I should have lightened things up or even written anything at all. After some serious soul searching I concluded that there were no “great pains” taken; that the stories were fun for me and others, and would continue to be. I poke fun and criticize myself more than anyone else in my stories. I am my own worst critic, as are many of us. I decided that I should not change my style to please a small but vocal minority of readers.
Keep writing. Keep searching for inspiration. It can be found in the unlikeliest of places, all you have to do is open your eyes and keep a pen nearby. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. Take the time to compose your thoughts. Don’t rush into posting something. Be sure you’re satisfied before you hit that button.
Any time anybody verbalizes their opinions about anything and puts it out there on the internet, they take the chance that someone will take issue with what was said. That goes for people like me who write about music, and it can go for anyone. I’ve certainly read plenty of nasty reader comments over seemingly inoffensive subjects all over this World Wide Web of ours. People can be nasty. Many of them would rather take a shot at you and try to take you down a notch than live and let live. But you can’t let that scare you off. WordPress allows you to screen your comments if that’s something you think you need to do, but don’t be afraid of what others might say.
Let me sum up this writing advice in point form below.
- When inspiration strikes no matter where, write it down! (Just park your car first.)
- Listen to advice…
- …but write for yourself.
- Any good idea is worth re-using.
- Don’t worry about how your art will be received. Fear kills creativity.
Enjoy the creative juices! Preferably with a great song in the background!