What Inspires You?

AlmostProductiveOn more than one occasion, I’ve hit a wall creatively and just shut down.  I can’t write. I can’t edit. I can’t even do crosswords puzzles because the words just will not flow.

When that happens, I start searching for inspiration. It’s not an easy quest. Wine and chocolate can only take me so far.  Sunsets are good– though at times they inspire melancholy more than zeal. Travel can be inspiring after time, but it is often tiring and complicated (for me, at least) to write on the road. And, as we discovered last week, penguins are emotional pick me ups, but don’t necessarily inspire novels– at least not yet.

Lately, I’ve been watching someone do something he loves. Seeing him work, watching him create– it has been inspiring in some unexpected ways. It’s not that I’m now driven to try to do what he is doing, but rather I’m now trying to figure out ways to do what I do better.  Even in complicated creative situations, I’m now trying to find the positive moments and enjoy the little victories along the way.

What inspires you to keep going? What inspires you to be creative, or productive, or exploratory? Is it something within you, or do you look to external factors for your spark?

4 comments on “What Inspires You?”

  1. Kas Thomas Reply

    On a good day, it’s like the words write themselves. The characters tell me what to write. Their situations dictate their responses (whether verbal or non-).

    On a bad day, when I’m blocked, I turn to favorite books and movies (sometimes songs) that I *know* will elicit a gut response. I’ll read a few pages of Flowers for Algernon. Reenact, in my head, a scene from The English Patient (or a dozen other films that “do it for me”).

    On good days I purposely set aside “easy bits” that I know I can write, without trouble, even on a bad day. I’ll store these up, keep ’em ready, for the slow days. When a slow day comes, I dig through the bag of bits and work on one.

    Otherwise I’ll go back and take more notes on characters, situations, snippets of dialog, visuals. I have a random-notes file open in Wordpad, always, just for jotting ideas down. I’ll work on the never-finished outline for whatever I’m doing. Maybe summarize what I’m doing in a series of one-liners. If it’s a book, one one-liner per chapter. Screenplay? A one-liner per scene. Kind of like writing a 25-word tagline for the chapter or scene instead of for the whole project. Underneath each one-line summary, I list random thoughts/notes/snippets.

    Or I’ll engage in creative procrastination. My fave technique at the moment is bouncing ideas off my best friend via a salvo of annoying e-mails.

    My experience has been that if you accumulate enough random thoughts (written down), eventually they are no longer random; they just were when you wrote them down. Ultimately they either get used or show you why something won’t work, or carry you to the next level somehow. Nothing’s really wasted.

    • KateDating Reply

      These are terrific ideas. Thank you for sharing them! I need to get in the practice of taking notes and writing down snippets of ideas even if it isn’t automatically apparent how they will be used. I have a bad habit of discarding ideas that don’t seem to have meaning/use right away.

  2. Kas Thomas Reply

    On a good day, it’s like the words write themselves. The characters tell me what to write. Their situations dictate their responses (whether verbal or non-).

    On a bad day, when I’m blocked, I turn to favorite books and movies (sometimes songs) that I *know* will elicit a gut response. I’ll read a few pages of Flowers for Algernon. Reenact, in my head, a scene from The English Patient (or a dozen other films that “do it for me”).

    On good days I purposely set aside “easy bits” that I know I can write, without trouble, even on a bad day. I’ll store these up, keep ’em ready, for the slow days. When a slow day comes, I dig through the bag of bits and work on one.

    Otherwise I’ll go back and take more notes on characters, situations, snippets of dialog, visuals. I have a random-notes file open in Wordpad, always, just for jotting ideas down. I’ll work on the never-finished outline for whatever I’m doing. Maybe summarize what I’m doing in a series of one-liners. If it’s a book, one one-liner per chapter. Screenplay? A one-liner per scene. Kind of like writing a 25-word tagline for the chapter or scene instead of for the whole project. Underneath each one-line summary, I list random thoughts/notes/snippets.

    Or I’ll engage in creative procrastination. My fave technique at the moment is bouncing ideas off my best friend via a salvo of annoying e-mails.

    My experience has been that if you accumulate enough random thoughts (written down), eventually they are no longer random; they just were when you wrote them down. Ultimately they either get used or show you why something won’t work, or carry you to the next level somehow. Nothing’s really wasted.

    • KateDating Reply

      These are terrific ideas. Thank you for sharing them! I need to get in the practice of taking notes and writing down snippets of ideas even if it isn’t automatically apparent how they will be used. I have a bad habit of discarding ideas that don’t seem to have meaning/use right away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *