Faulkner on inspiration

Two of my favorite writing quotations come from William Faulkner:

I only write when I’m inspired.  Fortunately, I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.

And in a similar vein:

I don’t know anything about inspiration because I don’t know what inspiration is; I’ve heard about it, but I never saw it.

I was thinking about these quotations recently as I came to the conclusion that my next novel should be a sequel to The Portal. Fine, but what should the sequel be about?  The thing to do, I have found, is to open up a blank document, start asking myself questions (starting with What is this book about?), and start trying to answer them.  

In less than two hours, over the course of a couple of mornings, I had the title and the basic idea.  They will probably change completely before I’m done, but at least now I’ve got a direction to head in.  

The point I wanted to make here is not that I’m especially creative, but that when I say “morning”, I mean 6:30 in the damn morning.  Years ago, I couldn’t have imagined being creative at that ungodly hour.  But nowadays that’s the way may life happens to be organized, so that’s when I have to get my “inspiration.”  

Faulkner knew what he was talking about.  And it seems like someone thought that first quote was worthy of an inspirational poster:


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