I went to a writing conference on Saturday. One of the sessions was about inspiration, led by Hannah Stephenson of The Storialist. She's a poet, which a lot of times I don't get, but she inspired me in the session.
I liked her idea that inspiration is a muscle and the more we exercise that muscle, the stronger it gets. Inspiration begets inspiration.
And, I have to admit that writing in my blog makes my voice stronger, even though I have a friend who complains that my fiction voice is not as strong as my blogger voice. Of course, on my blog, I'm writing as the character of me. This is a character I know pretty well by now.
Stephenson suggested that writers, or creators of anything, set "ambitious goals" of what they will create each day or each week. She writes a poem every weekday. So I set a goal of writing for an hour each morning. Then I promptly got up and graded papers for two hours this morning rather than writing.
One of Stephenson's ideas was to take inspiration by simply noticing the mundane around us. Notice it and think about what makes it interesting. She finds inspiration in the grocery story, overheard conversations, and mostly art. She gave us a chance to try it too. In a piece of art made from cut and folded paper silhouettes, in a huge, sunlit room, children danced around a May Pole. And I noticed the shadows cast from the long ribbons around the pole. Then I began to connect the idea of shadows to a new novel I'm working on.
Most of my inspiration for writing comes from my daily life, slogging through work and motherhood and wifehood and friendship. Sometimes just a walk in the morning might inspire me. Many times I push that inspiration aside, put my head down and continue to push ahead with the things that must be done.
So part of my inspiration must be allowing myself to stop and soak in that inspiration before noting it on paper and incorporating it into my work.
What about you? What inspires you and how often do you feel inspired?
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