Finding Inspiration

A Guest Post for Hallie Sawyer

As I was deciding what to write in this post for Hallie, I decided to take a closer look at her blog to get to know her better. I read each post and laughed at the number of things she said that paralleled my own life, and I found it funny that you share things in common with so many people and never know it.
     We both have marriages and children to nurture, we both feel torn between our responsibilities to others and to ourselves, we both hate talking on the phone and wish more kids knew the real joys of childhood, and….last but not least… we both love to write.
     However, as passionate as we may be, all writers at some point feel uninspired. It’s as if inspiration, who has intentionally disappeared into some vast invisible void, knows you and momentarily hates you.
     So what do you do when nothing seems to flip the switch in your head? When everything you write feels dull and vague?
     Well…even though we all write about different things with different methods, some things are universal. Like INSPIRATION. It is a necessary evil. When it loves us, it bathes us with creativity and flashes of brilliant ingenuity, but when it disappears, we literally become zombies.
     There are, however, ways to coax it back into your world.
     My Favorite Is….LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
     Get outside! The best way to submerse yourself into the world you have created is not always by reading your draft repeatedly at a desk in the confines of your home. Most of us need other methods to stimulate the creative juices. So why not pack up the laptop and go somewhere that is similar to the setting you’ve created in your writing?
     Now…granted, I realize if your book/story is set in 14th century Ireland this may be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. Think of all the amazing historical places that have been preserved just for us! Even though it may not be an exact replica, you’re a writer…you make a living with your imagination, or at least hope to someday make a living.
     I know that here in the South, we have gobs of forts and antebellum homes and state parks. There is a plethora of beautiful places to visit. Get inside your main characters head. Look at things through her eyes. Take your time…let it all soak in. You’ll eventually feel the connection, and the distance between you and your writing will fade.
     This works even if your setting isn’t historical…let’s say you’re writing dystopian literature. Go to an industrial park and just listen to all the sounds. Smell the fumes. Look at the bleakness of it. Your imagination will turn those factories into much, much more, and the experience will possibly provide depth to your description that you otherwise wouldn’t have had.
     Another method that works wonders in helping you get your groove back, is listening to music. Now…I’ve been accused of listening to some odd music, but I identify it with my stories and characters. Some songs just ooze my characters personality. It’s wonderful to feel them personified. So…if you don’t have writing music, GET SOME. Pick your poison. Listen to some alternative and independent artists….they tend to have literary lyrics that strike a cord with people of a poetic nature. It can easily make you begin thinking more like your characters and less like a stressed out writer.
     My third suggestion is simple. READ. Did I say that loud enough? READ! Master artists know classic paintings in and out. They’ve studied their favorites relentlessly. Successful musicians know the works of their predecessors and peers as well. They listen to the intricacies of their best pieces; scrutinize them with a delicate ear. Why would writing be any different? You have to know the world in which you are trying to exist. So…READ.
     The written word in and of itself is inspiration, not only from what you take from the story, but from the journey the author had to make to deliver it to you. THERE is inspiration folks….It’s been done before, by countless others, therefore it is not impossible, and your journey, however different, will be just as precious.
     So…the next time you feel like your eyes are going to roll out of their sockets from staring at a blank computer screen for hours, just remember this blog post. Get up and do something. Be active in your efforts to deliver the work to which you will be proud to sign your name.

Much thanks to Hallie for letting me guest post….and until next time…

WRITE ON Y’ALL….

-Charissa Weaks….A Day In The Life Of An Aspiring Writer

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