Inspiration’s a funny thing.
People are forever asking, “Where do you get your ideas/inspiration from?”
I have no problem with them asking the question, but here’s the thing: this question quite often comes hot on the heels of a statement along the lines of, “I want to be a writer.”
I never say, “So what’s stopping you?” because that would be rude. The truth is, though, that no one is stopping anyone from writing. If you want to be a writer, you can be, all you need do is start writing. When people say they want to be a writer, what they usually mean is, “I want to earn a lot of money/stop going to work/become famous.”
It’s not the same thing, and, those three things probably aren’t going to happen.
I know some writers. Very few of them write full-time, because most need a job to pay the mortgage. Some are lucky enough to work part-time, but I also know some very hardworking writers, who are being published and praised, who still work 40 hour weeks in shops and offices. Very few of the writers who work full-time are in single-income families; almost all of them have spouses who also work.
On the other side of that coin, I also know Ian Rankin. Here’s the thing, though, when I first knew Ian he had published four novels in five years and was working full-time on the Hi-Fi magazine that I sold ad-space for. He was only thirty and he was doing well, but he was giving virtually all of his free time over to writing. We all know what happened next, of course, and I can’t think of a nicer man for it to happen to, but for every Ian Rankin there are thousands of wannabes.
Inspiration and ideas count for a very small percentage of what a writer does. The rest is long hours and hard graft.
If you still want to be a writer, do what writers do, tap into your inspiration, pursue your ideas, and then get down to work, because, like it not, succeed or fail, that’s what writing is: work.