Finding Inspiration

Snoopy's Night Idea
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A question writers (and other types of artists) often get is “Where do you find your inspiration?” I honestly get mine from everywhere. My family. My friends. My coworkers. My surroundings. My travels. My experiences. My fears. My doubts. My successes. You get the picture?

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As far as inspiration goes, everything you consume is material. Movies you watch, novels you read, music you hear, conversations you overhear, the human emotions and actions you witness. You can create a story for the situations you encounter.

Why is the man screaming at the store clerk? Well, maybe his father just died, and he’s having trouble dealing with it. Why is the woman crying at the bus stop? Well, maybe she just spent the last of her money on medication and doesn’t have enough money left to pay rent. There are endless possibilities with stories because no two authors will tell stories in the same way.

Good writing practice is to find a headline in a newspaper (printed or online) and retell the story with great details about what happened before or after the story. There are also some books with writing prompts that are helpful to get into the habit of writing every day if you need that kind of discipline. *I am not a writer to writes every day. I only write when I am inspired or have a strict deadline (in the case of writing for my day job at a university). I find that forcing myself to write when I am not inspired causes a headache and a lot of junk that I end up cutting out during the editing process.

Another good way to practice writing is to find a song that you love and write a story or poem to go along with it. How does the song make you feel? Who or what is the song about?

I think about things I’ve read and wonder how the stories could be different. I think about situations my friends have experienced and how their stories could be told in different ways. Many of my stories feature characters who have certain traits I’ve taken from friends, family, or myself. It makes my characters feel real to me, and hopefully to my readers. This is especially true with showing the characters’ flaws. In fiction, flaws make the characters feel real to me. It’s the flaws and human emotion conveyed that make me what to jump into the pages (or through the e-reader screen) to hug the character.

There is inspiration all around you if you look for it or let it find you. I keep a notebook beside my bed in case I get an idea in the middle of the night. So many of my ideas just come to me in my dreams, or while considering the “what ifs” of life as I’m trying to fall asleep after I’ve exhausted myself reading or playing word games on my phone.

For more information on the types of written content I produce, read more: Continue reading

Rejection

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We’ve all experienced rejection. Relationships and jobs seem to be the ones most people experience on a regular basis.

I’ve been rejected more often than I’ve been the rejector when it comes to relationships. I’m not saying that to wallow; I’m just stating a fact. I’m more likely to stick things out than to run away, an odd combination of optimism and fear of the unknown. It hurts to be rejected. We ask ourselves difficult questions after a relationship ends, like: “Why wasn’t I good enough?” “What does he(she) have that I didn’t?” “What did I do wrong?” Sometimes those questions don’t ever get answered.

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Job rejections are in the double-digits at this point in my life. Some came without an interview, and some came after an interview. The ones that came after an interview hurt the worst, especially the jobs I really wanted and know I would have been good at. There was one I applied for twice. The first time, I was interviewed and didn’t quite make the cut out of three people. I felt so defeated. The next time the job came open, I tried again before the search was changed to something else. By the time it came around again, I had given up.

Artists are privileged to get to experience it on a whole new level. The rejection of our voice, our work, the deepest expressions of ourselves. Musicians, visual artists, writers—I think it stings no matter what when we share something with the world and get criticism. Everyone is entitled to their own tastes and opinions. I try to find something positive to say about other artists’ work when they share it with me, even if it’s to say that it isn’t my usual genre and then point out something I liked about it. I try not to leave bad reviews on books if the author is still living. I probably rate books higher than I do other works of art because I know how difficult it is to write a novel. Continue reading