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Inspiration Comes in Many Forms

Updated on May 19, 2013

Always when you aren't looking!

It's surprising just where you can get inspiration from. For days, weeks even, I can go without writing anything of use or writing anything that all. Then, something will strike me as inspirational and off I'll go.

I make it sound so simple don't I? Unfortunately, it's not. Sometimes, as you'd all know, you have a flash of inspiration at simply the wrong time - nowhere to write anything down, nowhere to store that little flash other than in your head, and hope it doesn't get lost in all the other stuff you have to carry around in your head that day. Then you sit down to get started on that little flash and it's run away, only to arrive in the middle of the night.

Other times, you have a flash, and wah-lah - you're in the right space to get started then and there. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it was always like this? At one point, it was like this. The picture of the boy and the cityscape has triggered an entire novel for me - currently at 50,800 words so not finished yet, but getting there. All from the one picture, which actually describes both the beginning and the end, but in different ways. I'm fortunate to have stumbled upon that picture at the right time - it's even the background to my iPhone so I've got it with me all the time - to continue to inspire me. However, unfortunately, right now, it's nothing like this for me!.

Most of the time, my muse is a little shy, or at least a little slow at getting to the point. Currently, I'm aware that I've been inspired by something, but not quite sure as to what exactly the inspiration is going to develop into. It's a weird feeling I get, that I need to write, but I'm not sure why, or what. Certain songs will trigger it, and I get into an annoying habit of listening to the same song over and over - Thank Your Favorite Deity for headphones or my wife would be mental. Currently the song is "Plans" by Birds of Tokyo. Good song, and as yet, I'm not sick of it. I'm trying to figure out if it's the rythmn or the words.

Where do you get your inspiration from? Does it take a similar form each time? Having different forms, for me, makes for different styles. So, this song may not work for the story inspired by the picture, and may be making me write something else. Sometime it will be revealled. How long does your inspiration take to make itself known?

A good cure for Writer's Block, though, is finding another way to stir inspiration. Go for a walk, take in your surroundings, listen to some different music, browse some other art, talk to different people. I've written a hub on this topic as well.

Timing sometimes works. I usually get inspired at 10pm, which for my wife who likes an early night is a right pain in the tush. Or at work, which REALLY doesn't help me. But hey, we can't help when we are inspired by something.

My goal is to figure out what this song has to do with anything, and start working on it. Continue with my picture inspired story to completion, and hey, maybe someone will like it.

But what I really want to know is:

What has inspired you lately?


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    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 17 months ago

      Interesting article. I get inspiration from many sources - Observing the neighborhood, reading a news, overhearing some one's talk etc. are some of them. The idea of the seed will be in my mind for a long time, sometimes years together, and then only I will be able to start writing the story.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA


      1. Get library (or your own) copies of books on writing practice by Natalie Goldberg, such as WRITING DOWN THE BONES and WILD MIND and THUNDER AND LIGHTNING and absorb their lessons. Ten minutes (or whatever) per day of freewriting writing practice might help open the flow of inspiration between your muses and your brain.

      2. Put writing instruments -- computer systems, paper and pen, typewriter, cell phone note taking mode, etc., in every room of your house or apartment and in your pocket, purse, knapsack, car, saddlebag, and so on, so that when an idea pops into your mind as you are walking, washing dishes, driving along, folding laundry, or whatever, you can stop and make a note or do a quick freewrite.

      3. Write for some minimum amount of time or write some minimum number of words or of pages whether you are inspired or not. (Depending on my situation, I've done 1 to 2 hours per day and 10 to 60 minutes per day and 2 to 4 hours per day, in however many spurts it takes. Or I might set myself the minimum goal of one paragraph or one scene or one hub capsule. Whatever works. If you write some minimum amount each day, perhaps there will be times when what begins as drudgery turns into inspiration and the sentences that came reluctantly are flowing out of you to complete a fantastic scene. Or if not, you'll have made a little progress anyway.

      4. When working on a story or an essay, don't necessarily write it linearly in first a happened and then b happened and then c happened fashion but rather try writing scenes out of order. If you feel in the mood to describe Prince Charming showing up with the glass slipper the day after the ball before you have described Cinderella learning there is going to be a ball, go ahead. I have met writers who get more inspiration more often that way. Similarly, have more than one work in progress, and when you temporarily lack the inspiration to continue one story or essay, work on another.

      5. One way or another, give yourself a deadline. Deadlines have a way of bringing inspiration. Promise an editor you'll submit a draft by x, or enter a contest, or give yourself a treat if you finish x by y.