Sunday, May 06, 2012

Inspiring Inspiration

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.
I also liked Stephenson's idea that many of us feel like we have to support our partners, our children, our careers, but we don't necessarily support ourselves. If creating fiction or art is part of us, then we have to "show up" for ourselves and not let down that inner part of us. I guess that's true. Other commitments take priority.
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?


BFF said...

You inspire me. Every day. I wish i had half the dedication you do. I live in awe

Linda said...

How nice to get inspired by the conference you went to. I'm often inspired by other people and it helps if I get outside and not stay stuck in my apartment. By the way, I was reading quite a good book lately and it was in the first tense and I found it sort of irritated me-for what it's worth.

Just Me said...

I don't think anything inspires me -I'm afraid I'm inspire-able. On the other hand, I'm awed by most people, places and things - like you. Seriously...I TRULY ENJOY the awe of the very smallest things in my daily life.

DCMetroreader said...

Sadly, I am often absorbed in my thoughts instead of being in the moment. Still, I usually take the time to enjoy my views of the US Capitol and Washington monument on my ride into and out of work. Amazing that I get to work in such a beautiful and historic city!

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