Inspiration. As writers, many times we pound away at our keyboards, or scratch away on a piece of paper writing absolute drivel, hoping for that vein of pure inspiration to come down from the heavens and illuminate us. We surf the web to kill time, text a friend, send out an email or two perhaps. Just waiting…
Unfortunately, inspiration is a very fickle friend. Sometimes it comes like a light from the heavens, illuminating the dark tunnel of our writer’s block and leaking out onto the pages in beautiful and artistic forms. Other times, it is more like a curb stomp. We pound away at our own darkened minds, drumming it for information in an effort to force it to think, to ponder, to create. That is part of being a writer. It is part of the pain we face in our creative endeavors. It is a part of being an artist.
But what do we do when inspiration doesn’t come? I would postulate that we need to open our eyes. That’s what we should do when inspiration doesn’t come. What do I mean by that? I mean that there is inspiration all around us. People walk by us every day, each with their own stories and histories behind
them. We surf the web and read the news and hear the gossip of the day whether we’re near the water cooler or not. Somewhere within our daily interactions there is something about which to write every single day. Is it necessarily going to fit into your current project? No, not necessarily. But that, in my opinion, is also what being a writer is about, recognizing stories in the things you see around you, writing about them, and saving those stories/ideas for when you need them Before long, you’ll have a whole pile of “inspirations” laying around that you can thumb through when you’re in need of something new.
I found myself doing that yesterday when I was reading through some news articles. A man, in his infinite wisdom, had decided he wanted to throw rocks at an 1800 pound bison on Antelope Island in Utah. Naturally, the bison took affront to this, charged the man, and pounded him into a fence. As these things often go I immediately looked up the Wikipedia article on bison and, while I was reading about their habits and behaviors, began to form a character in my mind that could transform into a bison at will, or who perhaps who rode one. I jotted down some notes and suddenly I had a character (probably a druid) that I could use in a later project. It doesn’t fit within the plot of my current work, but I recognized inspiration when I saw it and took advantage of it while I could.
So again, what is the point? Just this, inspiration is a fickle friend. Sometimes it doesn’t come when you want it to, and comes when you least expect it. But it’s there all around us if we open our eyes to see it. That is the challenge for this weekend. Begin compiling your own “Inspirations” – at least one a day. Learn to recognize the inspiration in the people and stories around you every day. Suddenly, you’ll come to realize that the days of being stuck waiting on inspiration to find you are over, because you went out and found it.