I wish I could say that when I sat down to write, that I was inspired to write. But technically I’m not really inspired. It seems like a contradiction to say that, while also feeling the “need” to write about not feeling inspired. Is a lack of inspiration itself an inspiration when you go ahead and do the thing you feel you need to do?

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I need to write. To write, I must practice writing, regardless of whether I feel inspired. If something is important to you, then you have to do it regardless of whether you’re in the mood to do it. Well, if it’s appropriate, anyway. Don’t go drinking and doing drugs because you think it’s important to you and I just told you that you have to do the important things regardless of whether you’re in the mood. There’s a disclaimer there, before it’s too late.

Sometimes I think about why writing is important to me. I emphasize this: WHY? It’s not like I’m some kind of amazing talent that, if I stopped writing, there’s a loss to the world. I’m not Shakespeare. I’m just a guy who has some writing skills, some days churning out stuff that makes me shudder to read and other days crafting something I feel pretty good about. If this sounds like I’m being negative about myself as a writer, I would argue I’m just being realistic about it. Plus, it’s good to tamper down the ego. If my work was fantastic, then perhaps I wouldn’t have gotten all the rejection e-mails I’ve gotten.

So why is it important? Is it only an outlet? Or is it a hope? Both? I write because I have a story in me that some days will only be a sentence long and other days will spin itself into a frenzy and form a nice plump page of words. Does that make sense? I could go back and edit that line to make sense, I really could, but I’ll resist for now. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of what we express and want to polish it up a bit more than we probably should.

And not to be pessimistic (again, just realistic, in my opinion) I think about what seems like a likeliness that society itself is on the decline and who knows what books will even still be existing a few hundred years from now. Or, if we’re lucky, a thousand years from now. So legacy can’t really be much of a driving factor to me. It has to be about right now. It can’t really be about anything other than right now. So I write, right now, for right now. It’s for me, before it’s for anyone else. Yet I’d be lying if I said it was only for me. If it was, then I’d delete this post right after I wrote it. If it was only for me, I’d throw out my books.

So you are part of the equation. I’ll write for me, but I’ll also do it for you. For whoever feels it’s worth the time to spend 5 minutes (7?) reading this post and a few days reading a book I’ve written. For that reason, I should thank you. Maybe you are my real inspiration, whoever you are.

(Now, before I publish this post, which may or may not make much sense, I’ll proofread it for typos, because I’m not uncivilized, am I?)

By J. Parrish Lewis

J. Parrish Lewis was born and raised in Maryland. In his youth there, he and his brother had many adventures in the dogwood forests near his home. His nostalgia for these adventures has strongly influenced his characters, their relationships, and their perspective on the world they inhabit. He moved to California’s coast to earn his degree in communications and now lives with his family in the San Joaquin Valley. Lewis is profoundly deaf and uses American Sign Language to communicate. He enjoys hazelnut coffee, captioned movies, and walking his dog.

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