Inspiration and Perspiration
by Jim Stovall
As the author of almost 40 books, seven of which have been turned into movies, I am often asked where I find the inspiration for the stories. While I would never discount the importance of ideas that occur to me or any other creative person, I would have to admit that the process of creating any artistic endeavor is simply hard work.
We’ve all heard the stories or legends about great writers, artists, poets, or other creative individuals that go to their proverbial mountaintops and come back with a masterpiece fully formed. Every great writer I have ever spoken with confirms that they spend a lot of time agonizing as they stare at a blank page. Ernest Hemingway stated sarcastically, “Writing is easy. All you do is open up a vein and bleed.”
The creative process is difficult and takes a toll on the person attempting to birth something worthy of an audience. The great painter Jean Renaud painted every day, and when his arthritis became so advanced that he could not hold a brush, he tied paintbrushes to his hands. The legendary composer, Joseph Hayden, rose every day at dawn to write music. When he was unable to come up with anything, he did the rosary until he was able to find a melody to write. Leo Tolstoy wrote War and Peace seven times. Only those who have read this voluminous work of literature can truly appreciate that feat. Sir Isaac Newton, when working on a theory, was said to “keep the problem constantly before his mind.” This is a trait that all successful artists and creative people embrace. They simply will not let the idea go away, and they are committed to subduing an idea before it subdues them.
Many aspiring writers, composers, artists, and others somehow mistakenly believe that there is an inspirational force that will descend upon them, making it possible for them to effortlessly bring forth an enduring masterpiece. Like anything else in life, once you know the true facts, you can count the cost and determine whether or not you want to pay the price.
I have been a successful athlete, investor, and entrepreneur, pursuing many endeavors, but I can honestly say that writing is one of the most difficult and rewarding things I have ever done. I do not like the process of writing, but I love the process of having written. Writing has been one of the greatest challenges and greatest gifts in my life. I hope you will make the commitment to pursue the passion in your life, and you just might change the world.
As you go through your day today, look for creative genius at the end of a lot of hard work.
Today’s the day!