Lately I have been feeling uninspired, which is probably due to an uncharacteristic level of busyness combined with a a lack of ideas. Usually, I don’t go looking for inspiration, it just finds me, often in the strangest of places.
For example, sometimes when I am in the shower, an idea or a solution will come to me out of the heavy warm mist floating around the ceiling, quite uninvited. You see, the shower is a most inconvenient place to be attacked with inspiration, as I have no pen, no paper, and I really need to concentrate on the razor if I want to get out alive.
I’m not even a relaxed person in the shower. To me, having a shower means business. I don’t stand there and let the water soothe me. I don’t sing or daydream. I follow a set of predetermined tasks and once they are done I get out. So why do I become inspired in the shower? I have absolutely no clue.
Another place where inspiration always seems to find me is snug in my blankets, immediately before I drop off to sleep. If I am lucky, it turns into a vivid dream, which I find easier to remember. It always seems to come at that point where I am too far gone to do anything about it, but conscious enough to recognize it for what it is. Really, at that point all I want to do is sleep, but I have to force myself to take a mental note and start the whole “falling asleep” process all over again.
Stranger still, I am not generally inspired by others, but instead by feelings or surroundings. A gentle rain will water my brain and set the idea seeds to growing, while a deep conversation with someone will leave me enlightened but drained. When I read a book that I feel is above par, the story doesn’t inspire me to write something of my own, but a dream about a smell or a sound might.
Not just writers, but every individual has a completely unique mind of their own, either based on nature or nurture (depending on which side you debated in sociology). How we think, how we interpret inspiration, and how we become inspired is singular to each of us. This allows us to create things in our own right, to have our own thoughts and ideas.
This is what makes every piece of writing out there its own, what gives each writer a voice and a style. And that’s why it is so important to find inspiration in something other than the work of another. In order to really write, and to cut a piece of the pie for yourself, you’ve got to have a tone of your own. Not just in your style, but in your story.
Become inspired by other writers for their success or their imaginations. Become inspired by their hardships or similarities to you. Become inspired by who they are as people, but be careful about becoming overly inspired by their words. Focusing too much on the work of another can lead to inadvertent parallels, which only reduce your value and skill as a writer in your own right.
So where, and how, does inspiration hit you? Do you go out and hunt it down, or call it quietly from the back door? What inspires you the most, and what inspires you the least?
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