Writing: Method or inspiration?


A question that is always very debated is this: method or inspiration? There are writers who claim to let their imagination run wild, and those who prefer to use strict rules, a precise method, with ladders, schemes, conceptual maps and so on and so forth.

There are opposing strategies, different clothes, there are those who love to wear a well-finished suit, and those who run in their underwear in the jungle chasing the reflection of the moon until they embrace it, or lose it completely out of sight. Okay, maybe it’s not a nice comparison, but it gives a good idea.

Let’s say that the first category loves to plan carefully, before starting the writing job, it prefers to follow precise lines because it wants to know where it is going and why, it wants to know the entire path without finding itself face to face with annoying voids.

The second type fears instead of feeling chained, those who opt for this solution prefer to start the adventure towards unknown destinations, hoping not to get lost. But no, if they are lost to them it is even better, it is more stimulating and who knows where the road will lead them, perhaps to the promised land?

Neither approach is right or wrong. Both can lead to a dead end that can take the irritating form of a huge block, a wall that interrupts the journey.

Yes, it can happen even to the most daring planner, because the risk is of … losing momentum for the idea, the enthusiasm, or worse, it can happen that the planning goes on to infinity taking away the moment to move on to the action.

Months and months to plan, build plots, a meticulous setting, the characters and their paths. But sooner or later you have to start. The time arrives, there is nothing else to add to that scheme, the ladder is there, the characters are defined from A to Z, we even know how many times they go to the bathroom, but a voice starts hammering: “no, better if concerning this, or add that other. No, he is still not perfect “, and having reached that point, taking the pen in his hand, we are already exhausted, even intimidated by the expectations of his enormous, perhaps super ambitious, program.

Or you realize that the programs made cannot adapt to the story or the character, so much work for nothing, we are told.

For the “libertines” the only things that can happen, tremendous in the same way as those of the “planners”, are that the flame of enthusiasm fades to the point of extinguishing before reaching the end, or that at some point in history they do not let it be known more how to proceed, the orientation is lost, or worse still it can happen to let oneself be frightened by the invisible goal, by the awareness that one has not the faintest idea where history wants to lead.

Around the corner is nothing, the unexpected, the possible monster lurking, and sometimes this can interrupt the journey.

What is certain is that a method to proceed in writing must be had, even if only vague “instructions for use”.

There are no precise rules, the only thing you can do is try to find your own way by taking advantage of the advice of professionals, of those who teach it, breathe it for decades, and try to apply it to your habits and inclinations. Moreover we are not all the same, everyone will find the method with which he will be more at ease.

And it will come naturally, you will have that idea that turns in your head and slowly you will understand how it should be managed, perhaps it will not always be the right method, perhaps you will have to go back a few steps, but the method will come by itself. In my opinion, forcing oneself to follow one is not useful.

My advice is simply to let you go, but not before having studied a good amount of writing books, to have made those concepts yours; absorb them, leave them free and your personal method will pop up.

Maybe it won’t happen to the first experience, and not to the second, but it will happen. What cannot be ignored at all is a block, of paper or not, even some apps, like Evernote, or a crumpled sheet, are the same, but putting the ideas that arise around another black and white is essential . Then you may never even feel the need to look at them again, but you will still need to give a mental order.

In the second part I will talk about the “methods” tested. For now, I greet you!

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