Past the point of desperation lies inspiration.
This book has been setting on my desk for years (yes, years!). With the dedication of a student learning anew, I recently dug in — and have felt surprisingly energized with fresh writing prompts and ideas.
I like a good prompt and often turn to books; I have no patience in waiting for the "muse" to "inspire" me. Does a plumber wait for the right pipe to magically appear, or a surgeon wait for the stars to align before he begins to cut? No, you go out and get what you need, and then stick to your schedule.
And so, both mood and magic have been tossed aside for the more reliable forces of effort and will. I've got my very own mentor in this get-to-it book.
What guides your writing? A person, a book, a class . . . ?