Was Thomas Edison Right?

Was Thomas Edison Right?

Most people will have heard the famous Thomas Edison quote:

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”.

But how true is this for you?

I believe that inspiration gives you a starting point, the sudden flash of an idea that forms the skeleton of a story. But after that, it is your craft, skills, hard work and a lot of elbow grease that will see you over the finish line. Without that follow through and hard work your spark of inspiration will stay just that; a simple idea, an ephemeral dream, a flicker of light burning in your mind.

That is not to undervalue the need for continual inspiration. Inspiration provides the fuel to keep you going and the drive to finish your writing project. Once you have that initial idea the hard work starts of the planning, development, writing, re-writing, editing and formatting. However, along the way you may find you suffer from writers block, lack of motivation, doubt, or simply being uninspired. This is where perspiration (from all your hard work) can lead to inspiration. It sounds counterintuitive, but it is true. Once you start planning, writing and editing, once you gain momentum with your writing project, then further inspiration will follow. You all know what I am talking about. You may be editing a scene, dialogue or descriptive passage when you get another flash of brilliance, you can see it all unfolding in your mind. Or maybe you are stuck on a certain scene, so you take a break from staring at your computer. Perhaps you go out for a walk, when inspiration hits you again. You can see that scene as though you are living it yourself. And suddenly the words flow out of your mind, faster then your hands can keep up.

So for me, Thomas Edison had the right idea, but not the right balance. I think it is more like a 30/70 split. The initial inspiration would be nothing without perspiration. It is what you do with those idea’s that matters, and then to build on those ideas and write a best seller you need a little more inspiration.

So do you think Thomas Edison was right? Is genius one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration?