Finding inspiration for a writer is not necessarily found while sitting in front of a screen with one’s fingers on a keyboard. If one searched through the lives of famous writers, inspiration has been found in almost as many ways as there are writers. On Twitter, and on Facebook, I hear the question of where one finds inspiration from the newbie or novice writers. Naturally, the advice is plentiful and free from a host of others. The problem is, many of those offering advice are either newbies, novice writers, or perhaps a larger group, those who simply have answers for anyone’s question regardless of real knowledge or experience.
As for experienced writers, there is a real hesitancy to offer any advice. Why? Well, for the most part, despite years of writing experience, even by those who have published many books, the authors don’t know the answer. What works one day, is a bust the next time inspiration is wanted.
Personally, I have a lot of experience in writer’s block and the elusive hunt for inspiration. Of all of my strategies, there is one that sometimes works better than others. When I go free-hiking – walking/hiking while nude in wilderness areas – there is a release of tensions and anxieties. The longer the walk while clothing free, the more my head clears. I call it walking meditation. What is happening at the time isn’t so much an invitation for inspiration to appear, as there is an opening of a portal that otherwise prevents inspiration from paying a visit.
Ego is the biggest enemy, the dominant force that discourages the appearance of inspiration. Ego wants control. Giving up control is anathema to one’s ego. It is precisely this need for control that results in inspiration disappearing. The truth is, inspiration doesn’t disappear at all. It sits there, within us, waiting for the iron fist of control to relax. I wonder if the easily giving up of control that I have managed after decades of structured meditation, thousands of kilometres of hiking which is an almost daily activity, is responsible for my writing by the seat of my pants?
I have tried to plot out a story or two. I know all the rules, having taught them to young writers in writing courses for a few decades. Yet when I lay out the plan, it doesn’t work for me. When I used the same process for writing out online learning modules, it worked exactly the way I needed it to work. However, with a novel, even I can spot the lack of dimension and a sense that the reader will be as bored with the story as I am.
Writing without a script is a journey of discovery. I follow inspiration with a high level of trust. Is this a recommendation for other writers? No, not in the least. This is my experience which is tailored to “fit” me as a writer.
9 thoughts on “In Search of Inspiration”
Excellent points, Robert, thank you. Nudity, and movement while nude – even just taking a shower – can help unclench the iron fist of control that you mention. That’s certainly my experience as well.
I think that planning out an online learning module is quite different from plotting out a novel, and yet I’m sure there are also some structural similarities that could even be illuminating in the right context. I’m like you, a “pantser,” but I’m learning more about plotting out trajectories and central conflicts, etc. – something important I’ve learned is that if you’re a plotter, you’re laying out a bunch of potential plots, the majority of which will not be used.
I am using a timeline based on a lot of historical research for my current Work-In-Progress. I know who is who and when they appear in history. With historical fiction, one can’t just wing it. However, in the story … ? Well, that is all about pantser discovery. LOL!
I am definitely a novice at this story telling, however, As I begin with a general idea of a character, that character takes me on her/his journey. I am introduced to others, most who I did not know until that moment. I often ask: Who is showing me this story? Who is allowing me to write about them?
Who? Well, the Muse is within you, all the time. She’s hidden in the shadows out of your control. When you are receptive, she appears as inspiration. So in essence, you are allowing yourself [letting go of ego control] to tell the story.
> even by those who have published many books
True. I have written a few books myself, and I still don’t know. I find myself toying with several ways of “doing this”. It depends on too many things what works for a book. I’ve discovered something new a few weeks ago. It works. For 2 books. Will it work for a 3rd one? The 3rd book will tell…
And I can’t figure out why I can’t “like” posts and that annoys me to no end!!
Interesting. I will have to learn more about this “something new.”
I have been having the same issue.
Even from an and cartoonists perspective, I totally get where your’re coming from Robert.
My writing two weekly cartoons can sometimes flow from one to the next depending on the story arc.
Then there are times, such as this where I finished working on a plotline and have to come up with something for the next couple if weeks but end up staring at a blank sketch pad.
More often than not I have a punchline for the final panel and have to build towards that.
My “methods” are not very methodical!
Keep on writing my friend.