"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nobokov

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Inspiration 101

Ask just about any writer where they get their ideas (and believe me, I've asked this question one too many times), and they usually say something like, "everywhere," or "life," or maybe, "things that interest me." I usually thought their answers were pretty vague. What did they mean, "everywhere?" Everywhere could be anywhere! From coffee shops to outer space! The entire cosmos! 

And then I realized, that was the point. That's the reason we have to be observers. Ideas are all around us. It's just a matter of finding them. And while some people might know exactly where to go to find inspiration, I thought I'd offer what little advice I can to the rest of us who are well, feeling a little drained of ideas.

Here's my list of places to go when you're looking for inspiration:

1. Schools: Ok, so I know this might not be an option for everyone, but what better place is there for all the latest teenage gossip about who's broken up with who or why she's ignoring her supposedly best friend? There isn't. So at the risk of looking creepy, try taking a spin around your local high school. It's worth it!

2. Coffe Shops: It used to be that coffee shops were the center of business and politics. The people who went there talked to each other, and the idea of someone sitting by themselves without talking to strangers was practically nonexistent. Even though nowadays you might not always strike up a conversation with another random coffee shop customer, you can still eavesdrop and get good ideas! Its also a great place to actually write, too.

3. Downtown Office Buildings: I for one find it fascinating to watch people do what they do every day, which is work. Maybe you'll catch the security guard checking Facebook from her phone, or you'll see someone who looks like he could be a CEO taking in the view from the eighteenth floor observation lobby. All in all this is an unconventional but effective place to be inspired.

4. Art Galleries/Museums: When not people watching, sometimes writers can be inspired by   other types of art. Plus, museums are a great place to take a nice, relaxing break, while still feeding your creativity.

5. Movie Theatres: This is another great people watching venue. If you can't make it to a school, going to the movies on a Friday night gives the same effect.

6. Parks/Wild Life Reserves: Sometimes we can be inspired by the beauty of nature, or an idea pops up while we are spending some alone time in the woods. Also, a new environment, one we're not used to, can be just the thing to get the creative juices flowing.

7. Dreams: While dreams aren't exactly a place (although I know some people who might argue the opposite), they are great places for inspiration. I was reading recently about an author (her name escapes me at the moment), who dreamed she would write a bestselling novel, and she eventually did. Many people have told me to keep a notebook by my bed so I can write down my dreams, but all my dreams are usually forgotten by the time my dog is done licking my face to get me to wake up.

Well, thats about all I can think of at the moment. What places do you go for inspiration?

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I love the inspiration list. Dreams also inspire me somewhat, although they actually just make me think more than inspire me to create things. I really just like the idea of dreams and coffee shops though. Just thinking about those places is like brewing coffee in your head! Ideas churn! Hey that kind of reminds me of Shel Silverstein and his poem about the boy with water in his head, and it would slosh around and spill over the rim when he walked.

    Just having conversations with other people is inspiring/digs up many memories and ideas, but it has to be a good conversation, where it feels like topics just keep coming up and then you lose track of old topics because they keep reminding you of new topics. It's best I think if there's someone who can imagine with you, because it's fun to kind of ping-pong ideas along the way..

    What's another great place? Bookstores! I'd say libraries, but bookstores have this magicality while libraries have kind of a familiarity about them. Anyway, it's just something about so many brand new books and the nice atmosphere. And there's this untouchability there too, to some extent. It makes it seem more magical. Just like in harry potter! The more untouchable places were, the more magical and mysterious the places seemed.

    Also I love the daily photo prompt today! It's so great and had this air/mystery/intrigue about it that seems perfect for writing. And I love the colors!