C.Margery Kempe’s post on Anais Nin last week made me think about inspiration. What is inspiration exactly and why do some of us have plenty of us, while others haven’t a clue?
The Oxford Dictionary defines inspiration as: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. Others have waxed more poetic about inspiration. But I tend to agree with Jack London who said, ” You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
Here are the top ten things I often turn to for inspiration:
1. Exercise. Okay, I can see some of your rolling your eyes and groaning. Seriously, this is the best way for me to get ideas churning in my brain. For example, I had no idea what I was going to do for this blog post until a bolt of inspiration hit me during Zumba class.
2. Good books. I’m an avid reader and I read across the genres. But one of the writers that fuels my fire when it comes to sexy writing is DH Lawrence. My favorite? Lady Chatterley’s Lover. I read it in college and several more times between then and now. Such beautiful , erotic use of imagery and language. And I love the idea that it was so controversial in its day. I think it still is in certain parts of the country.
3. Music. I’ve written about this before here. But it’s almost as if each book I write has it’s own soundtrack. And what better way to get out of your brain, your own ego, than to listen to some incredible music.
4. Other writers. I am blessed to have several good writer friends who never let jealousy or insecurities get in the way of our friendship. In fact they lift me, support me, in countless ways. As I hope I do for them.
5. Crafting, or doing something with my hands, like gardening. I’ve always had an herb garden and my husband and I have always had a veggie or two in the ground. I also enjoy scrapbooking and quilting. Just going to a fabric store can inspire me for days.
6. Research. I am one of those writers who loves research almost as much as writing. Often there will be a tiny little thing that sparks my imagination only found during my research. For example, as I wrote about last week, I really love those bee skeps. Yesterday I watched a movie call “The Vanishing Bee,” which was so good I couldn’t tear myself away. I really now have such a better sense of the bee as a creature, rather than an insect to be swatted away. This will definitely inform and inspire me as I write the next book in my series.
7. History. I am passionate about history and, in fact, married a historian. (Grin.) Reading history never fails to inspire me. Attending museums often results in long journal entries for me, leading to stories later on.
8. Language. This related back to reading—but it doesn’t have to. It could be the way someone has used a word in conversation. It stays in my mind and rolls around, until I decide how to use it for myself.
9. Art. Of course. Like our own Elizabeth Shore, who loves the Renaissance, I love it too. But my all time favorites are the Pre-Raphaelites. John Waterhouse’s Lady of Shallot is my favorite. I’ve written poetry about it.
10. Food. I don’t need to go on, do I? You all know how I feel about food.
What inspires you?