Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is an award winning writer, newspaper reporter, TV producer, playwright, and essayist. His work has appeared in a variety of places, from Haunts magazine to Zondervan's New Men's Devotional Bible. A three time winner of the American Christian Writers Association Writer of the Year award, he is also a speaker, musician, worship leader, ordained United Methodist minister, and a pretty fair banjo picker.

thomas Smith

The Flip Side - The Inspiration Fairy
(and other urban legends)

It is said to haunt the dark recesses of our reality, flitting in and out just beyond our periphery. Silent as a shadow, ready to strike full-blown, with little or no warning. Some people wait their whole lives and claim never to have seen it. Others tell remarkable stories about their brushes with the creature, their lives never to be the same after the stirring encounter.

Still others say it’s a load of cow cookies and you should be careful where you step.

Are they talking about Bigfoot?

Not hardly. I’ve seen actual pictures of the legendary Sasquatch right on the cover of The National Enquirer. (And no, Mr. and Ms. Smarty Pants, it wasn’t the same issue with the alien woman saying she was having Elvis’ baby. You don’t run two breaking stories in the same issue).

Could it be the Tooth Fairy?

Not likely. Somebody has to deliver the dimes for those missing molars and bygone bicuspids. And just like Britney Spears’ underwear, just because you’ve never seen it, doesn’t mean it’s not real.

No friends, the fictional creature most likely cooked up when some literary type’s grant money ran out is none other than the illusive Inspiration Fairy. Many a fledgling writer has sat staring at a blank computer screen or a blank sheet of typing paper (showing my age here…) waiting for something to happen. Waiting for their muse to send smoke signals above the tree line so that tutu clad bringer of words could swoop down and brain said writer with the Strunk & White Genuine Official Magic Word Wand (patent pending). Then the words will begin to flow like a NASCAR fan’s kidneys on lap one fifty-seven.


People who wait for this noggin thumpin’ poor second cousin of the Tinkerbell clan are doomed to live a life of unfulfilled dreams and more than a few excuses as to why they don’t write any more than they do. Either that, or they are poets, and who needs another round of

My soul cries out like a guppy in labor Fire and ice eddy and swirl in a hoedown of passion, all star shine and misery The earth sighs; the heavens tremble, and the Cubs take the pennant yet again e-i-e-i-o, hey nonnie nonnie-o, l-s-m-f-t


Thomas F. Monteleone said it best: “Writing Equals Butt In Chair. The corollary to that singular truth is: Writing is mostly luck: The harder you work, the luckier you get.

Which brings me back to the point. To be a professional writer takes putting hundreds of thousands of words on the page. Writing on a regular basis. Writing when you feel like it, and when you don’t. It takes relying on the sum total of your knowledge, your experience, your passions, your boredom, your triumphs, your tragedies, good meals, bad meals, good friends, bad influences, lazy summer days and frigid winter nights. Faithful dogs, crisp autumn afternoons, and ruby red candy apples at the fair.

In short, writing takes sitting down and plunging in. Not waiting for inspiration. The truth is, the need to write is inspiration enough. The wealth of living, loving, and life itself stored inside you is more than enough fodder for more stories, articles, plays, greeting cards, cereal boxes, books and songs than you can possibly write in your lifetime.

You don’t need to wait for the Inspiration Fairy to sprinkle inspiration dust on your fingers.

You need to write.

And write.

And write some more.

A writer writes. It’s what we do. We write when we feel like it, and when we don’t. We write in a white-hot torrent of words that seem to come from nowhere and everywhere, and we write when every word feels like you’re giving birth to a Pterodactyl.

People who wait for the Inspiration Fairy tend to publish very little.

But they have some great stories … about waiting for the Inspiration Fairy.