The Search for Inspiration
From Guest Blogger, Lily Kaligian: Inspiration is always one of the hardest things for a writer to find. Even if you have it, it can often slip through your fingers just at the moment that you sit down to write. Here are some great places where you can search for inspiration, in order to ensure that you can always find it when you need it.
One place to look is in the work of other authors. While theft is not a great road to walk down, you can often find that reading a book will spark something that turns into your own unique idea. You might take a concept that the other author merely touched upon, expand and twist it, and create your own new universe. A great way to make this happen is to read a genre which is as far away from the genre you write as possible. If you write sci-fi like a coming of age teen novel, or if you write a crime novel like a romance, you’ll be doing something new.
Head out to a public space, like a café, a bar, or a shopping center, and sit down. You can pretend to be doing something else if you like, but pay attention to everyone around you. Note their mannerisms, the way they dress, their relationships to one another, what they are doing. Listen to their conversations and see what you can hear. You might spark off a bit of inspiration for new characters or scenarios
Go to a museum or an art gallery and browse the works that are on display there. If you don’t have anything suitable around you, you can also browse artworks online. Many top museums and galleries have online libraries you can search through. Look at paintings and sculptures, and all other forms of art, and imagine the stories behind these works. You don’t have to look up the real story – in fact, it’s better to wait for your own to emerge. What is Michelangelo’s David waiting for? Why is Venus emerging from the shell? When you start to imagine these stories, soon you’ll have inspiration running through your mind
Music is also a really great kicking-off point for inspiration. Classical music can often stir deep emotions, while modern music with lyrics can also create a story in your mind. You might want to explore the character who is portrayed in the song or imagine the response that they might get from the object of their affection. This will create new worlds and characters in your head.
Do you ever remember your dreams? Keep a dream journal by your bed, and write them down as soon as you wake up. This will give you ideas that you can return to later. Some of them might be crazy or nonsensical, but the more you look at them, the more you might find an idea waiting to germinate. What’s even better is that you have vividly seen these stories inside your own head already, so it will be easier for you to get them down on paper if they do inspire something new.
There is inspiration waiting all around us, even if just from a short walk outside. All you have to do is to be open to it. When you’re deliberately seeking out inspiration, don’t try to force it too hard. Looking in the places we have suggested, just experience the search, and let it happen, rather than straining yourself. Inspiration tends to come when we are quiet and open, not when we are worried and desperate!
Lily Kaligian is an editor at Businesscheck.co.nz and Canadabiz.net. She creates a variety of articles about careers, entrepreneurship, technology, business, education, as well as travel and personal development.