Agreed! Or, as John Irving put it at the Iowa Writers Workshop, “Sit down every day and squeeze your brain until something comes out.”
That may be the best bit of writing advice I ever saw.
As the editor of a small on-line fiction journal, I’m committed to writing one new short story every two weeks, in addition to my novels and nonfiction.
Often, after seeing the biweekly theme, I have no idea what to write. Until I start!
I close my eyes and let stories play against the back of my eyelids, and then I start to type a vivid scene, often still having no idea how that will become a story.
But once I start to work, it always does. I find the beginning, middle, and end. I paint my characters, and structure the tale.
Now and then, one of the stories is even really good.
But none of them would have ever existed if I’d waited for a brilliant idea to strike.