I was recording a podcast with my friend John today, and he had some great writing advice: when inspiration strikes, stop and write the first draft immediately. The idea is that your energy comes through in the words you write. When you care about something, people can tell. On the flip side, when writing feels like a chore, your writing suffers. 

I was thinking about this after the podcast today, and I agree that you should capture the thought when an idea energizes you. Gerald Weinberg mentioned that technique in his book The Fieldstone Method. But for me, ideas take time to fully develop, and my best writing often comes out in the editing process. 

Writing is also a skill that can be perfected, just like any other. Just because I don’t feel like writing doesn’t mean I must write poorly, the same as if I don’t feel like playing the piano, I must play poorly. That said, when I can feel the notes I’m playing, the music sounds better. So maybe John is onto something. 

No, I think that’s it. Writing is a skill, and skills take practice to achieve mastery. Mastery—when my technique feels natural—is where I find true enjoyment in anything and do my best work.

I guess what I’m saying—and I’m saying this to myself as much as to anyone else—is just write. Write when you don’t feel like it, and especially write when the mood strikes because those are the moments when you’ll really feel the music.