I clenched my fists and counted to 10. And put down the big knife I was trying to chop fruit with.
Turning calmly to my mother and my mother-in-law, who were trying to be helpful, I smiled sweetly and said, “Guys, this is a one-person kitchen and there are three of us in here. Honestly, I can crack on with this on my own, thank you. Sit in the sun with a gin and tonic, and I’ll be out in a few minutes.”It really is a one-person kitchen. Actually, I think it’s a one-hobbit kitchen and should be burned to the ground, but we can’t do that yet.Joe and I are renovating a 17th century cottage and the kitchen is an awful 1950s breeze block monstrosity that freezes the washing up liquid in the winter. No matter how much we clean it, it’s always grimy. And, for the longest time, I hated it.I mean, I still don’t like it – I’m forever picturing the big beautiful oak-frame extension we’re going to build in a couple of years – but I don’t hate it anymore.I spent a lot of time and energy avoiding the room, telling myself “I can’t wait for our new kitchen” and “When we have our new kitchen, I’ll make jam” and “in the new kitchen, I’ll be able to bake cakes”.Then, when I was picking fruit and wondering what to do with it, I had a bit of a flash of inspiration. I could do all those things now. I could make jam. I could bake cakes.Yes, I’d have to do it in that kitchen, but is that really so bad? At least I have a kitchen, and clean water, and food to eat.That tiny shift in mindset changed everything for me. Suddenly, the kitchen isn’t just bearable, it’s a place where I create the most delicious jams (and destroy jam) and bake messy but tasty cakes.It might seem obvious to you, but it wasn’t to me.I was waiting for my situation to become better, instead of changing the situation myself.I was waiting for inspiration, when it was there all along.I’m often asked where I get all my ideas for writing from, and how I can keep telling stories. People wonder when they’ll get hit by the inspiration fairy.Truth is, you won’t be.You can’t sit around and wait for inspiration to strike, just as sitting around and waiting for my kitchen to get better was pointless. You have to make inspiration happen for yourself.Go out into the world and do things. Learn something new. Pick up new ideas. Talk to people, read books, watch films, look at nature, collect fruit, and make jam.If you’re stuck because you’re struggling to come up with ideas, don’t let that stop you.You’re full of ideas and your world is stuffed to bursting with inspiration. All you need to do is grab it.In Chapter 4 of my new book How The Hell Do You Write A Book, I walk you through how to come up with ideas, how to think sideways, and how to play like a child.All of which you need if you want to write a book – or if you want to do anything creative successfully, including running a business.Fancy a read?You can pre-order your copy here – and if you order before I launch it properly, you get a fiver off.
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If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.
Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she’s not doing that, she’s hanging from a trapeze by her feet.