Do you believe in inspiration? I do. I don't know what it is, though, and worse, I don't know how to make it happen. When I was a younger person I thought that inspired writing was the only good writing. I thought that if writing was worked over and rehashed it was dead. Which meant I hardly ever rewrote anything. It was either good when it came out, or I trashed it.
Once I was daydreaming in a poetry class and I heard this voice in my head. It said, When I was two and a half I stuck a knife in an electric socket. I couldn't believe how vivid it was. I sat up straight in my chair, as if zapped by electricity myself. When I got home after class I pounded the whole story out. It couldn't have taken very long. It was one of the most enjoyable writing experiences of my life.
But reading it again all these years later, the story really wasn't that great. It had a strong voice, but the voice cloyed after a bit, and the story was pretty darned sketchy. It wasn't my best work, though it felt like it at the time.
Later when I wrote a novel, there were parts in it that were anything but inspired. It was the stuff I had to put in to fill spaces, to make one section connect to the next. Ugh, I couldn't even read those pages: they didn't fit and they seemed lumpy and awkward. I complained to JRL; he said he couldn't see any difference between those pages and the others. Later my editor picked out one of those sections as her favorite. WTF!
Now that I'm a grown-up person I have more respect for the hard work of writing. That stuff you toil over is probably better, from the reader's point of view, than the easy stuff. It's more thoughtful, more grounded, more intelligent and honest.
Still -- there's no better feeling than having the words tumble out faster than you can write them, when all the sentences seem supercharged and full of extra meaning. It's really only happened to me a few times, and I have to say I love it. It usually means a new voice, a new way of approaching my work. What is it, I wonder? Is it the unconscious suddenly busting through a wall and standing in the conscious mind's living room? Is there any way to make the walls thinner? Because I could certainly use a bit of that.