Inspiration...

...why is everything with you so complicated?

I took the liberty to use a line from the Rihanna song “Complicated” (you can find the track on her album “Loud” if you’re interested…) to get me started on this blog post.




I’ve had my ups and downs with inspiration lately, more downs than ups to be quite honest and it’s been frustrating. It’s frustrating to stare at a blank word document and not know what to do with it. It’s frustrating to stare at an empty notepad, play with your pen and not know where to start. The idea is there, all fired up and ready to go but what’s not there is the inspiration, the inspiration to write, to actually assault the keyboard with my fingers until there’s smoke coming up, to actually write until I either run out of paper, ink or get a cramp in my wrist.
When you have moments where an apple inspires you to pen 5000 words in an evening, it’s does become somewhat difficult to comprehend why watching a smexy romcom with a happy-go-lucky ending doesn’t inspire you to do anything at all with your characters. They just seem to rot in their shelves because nobody seems to want to play with them… They stare at me with utter disappointment in their eyes and no matter how hard you try to explain it to them, they just don’t understand.

Yet inspiration is so easy to come by. It’s everywhere. It seems to however be one of those elusive things that you have to try really hard to catch. I’ve been trying and so far all I’ve got is a headache from all those times I reached right into thin air. It’s like inspiration is right there in front of me. She’s staring me in the face, laughing, poking her tongue out at me, teasing me, telling me to come and get her. But when I do, she’s gone. Just like that, from one moment to the other the room’s empty. I’m alone again with my fingers that refuse to type and my word document that refuses to fill itself with some amazing story that will make everyone fall to their knees and applaud my utter brilliance. All I hear is that eerie laughter, echoing through the room, reminding me that I’ve lost out yet again…next stop chocolate to ease my frustration. While the pounds keep piling on, aforementioned word document remains empty.
I’m a woman on a mission. I need inspiration and I need it now. You could say I’m a junkie. I crave it so bad that I’ve got withdrawal symptoms which manifest themselves in the form of frowns, grumpiness, frustration, headaches, anger, tears, hair-tearing…to name but a few.


I’ve still got some hope left that I’ll walk away from this spell of non-inspiration as a winner. Sadly said hope is dwindling fast. There’s only so many songs you can listen to, to try and inspire yourself. There’s the old suspects who are supposed to always work but who have currently been banned because they refuse to do their job. There’s the newbies who have tenderly tried to woo inspiration but haven’t managed to succeed just yet. Favourite movies have been taken from their shelves and dusted off in a desperate attempt to trick inspiration into curling up beside me and falling asleep. Countless pictures of beautiful sunsets and favourite places have been dug out and leafed through. Old memories have been dragged up from the depths of the million and one storage drawers in my brain. Previous works have been critically reviewed to determine whether they still hold some inspiration for me to steal away. Distraction has been sought out in a cheeky attempt to lure inspiration into sneakily attacking me from behind. Favourite writers have been stalked online or in bookshops and their works dragged out in the open in hope that their inspiration would become mine. Hours have been spend sitting in the sun, recharging my batteries and energy levels. Stress has been reduced to a minimum. Coffee has been drunk by the bucket load.
Alas, every plan and it’s cunning sub-plan, however carefully executed, has failed thus far. I’m at a loss. Writing without inspiration is a possibility for the actual story idea is there and the characters will obey if barked at accordingly. The downside writing like this however is that it makes every sentence feel like a 48h triplet birth without an epidural. It’s not quite up there with Writer’s Block but it comes pretty darn close. It takes the fun out of writing and makes it a strenuous affair. I don’t know about you but I like to avoid strenuous affairs as much as I possibly can…they are a waste of time. As a result of that belief any fruits of labour related to writing have been pretty scares and forced. I’m refusing to read over anything that I’ve written for fear that I will destroy it in the instant that I look at it.

If you have any suggestions on how to get inspiration to come and stay…preferably for good, but an extended term would also be acceptable, I’d love to hear about it. Maybe you have an idea that I’ve simply not thought of – standing on the balcony at silly o’clock at night, staring at the night sky and hoping that lightening will strike, is clearly not working for me. So please, bring it on! I’ll be forever grateful – an uninspired writer is after all just like a fish out of water. Both can only survive for so long before one dies and the other goes sheer crazy…



Comments

  1. For my part, I tend to get inspiration striking me at the worst times, in the worst places: while working, on a train,... The annoying bit is it never comes when I want it to, so I simply have to keep a notebook handy at all times and write down any inspiration I get during work while on lunch break or on the train home. Even more annoying is when I try to read it back to type it up and the shaking of the train has made my (already near illegible under normal circumstances) handwriting into something resembling a secret language! Still, I'm sure you'll come up with something. The muses are fickle beings and tend to show up when you've given up on them. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks Jo, hun, do do always have some good ideas to share when I'm stuck!

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  2. I always have a list of self assignments that I work on. They are personal challenges that I return to often,..the're never finished or completed,....just always ongoing. So it's always there to continue on,...always interesting.
    Martys ..... Photoshopuser.com.........NAPP member 12 years

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    1. That's actually a really good idea, a bucket list of some kind. I do that sometimes but only for certain things, not necessarily for writing related things.

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  3. Selly, some very interesting and introspective thoughts here! Thanks for sharing. For me, inspiration always comes unannounced, unplanned for, in the most inconvenient times and places. Be ready for it, but don't push it! I tend to gain inspiration for my work from creative people in other fields - for example, a musician may inspire me to create a photo, or a writer may inspire me to draw an image. Look around you, open your mind to the world, let images and words caress your mind - and the inspiration will find its way in!

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    1. I can totally relate, Mike, inspiration hits me right in the face when it's least convenient. I try not to complain but when I am in the middle of a project at work it really is a tad bit difficult to start writing...haha.

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  4. I find you can't force inspiration. The more you force inspiration, the more elusive it becomes.

    My inspiration comes while I am on a long drive, when there is nothing to do but drive for hours. My mind becomes very active and I come up with some of my best ideas. I have not found anything else that works as well for coming up with inspiration.

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    1. I can focus best and harness inspiration when I shut out the whole world by listening to music. It keeps me in the mood, say if I was writing a sad story, and it keeps the rest of the world out because I simply can't hear them.

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  5. Selly, we all go through a period of drought. It's the thing that actually allows us to become stronger and perform when needed. Without struggles, we would be dull and uninspired. Look at this period as a time to grow, a time to find out who you really are. Look to help others, open yourself up to someone and look at life through their eyes. We were put here in this time and place to help one another. May you find the inspiration you seek and may you enjoy each and every day!

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    1. That period of drought was really rubbing me up the wrong way, Gary, I absolutely wanted to write, I had an amazing idea but I just couldn't get it together. Lately inspiration hangs around but I'm either way too tired or I absolutely have no idea... Oh life why do you have to be such a bi*ch sometimes?

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  6. I do a lot of business writing and sometimes I just can't find thew words to get me started. I discovered a little book that sometimes (A lot of times) get me started on how to say it. That's the title of the book..."How to Say It" by Rosalie Maggio and published by Prentice Hall. It's full of choice words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs for every situation. It has paid for itself over and over again. Thank you Rosalie! And, thank you Sellie for raising the topic!

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    1. I'm glad you found something to help you get started, that's always important. I find that if you have something that works well it's sensible to stick with it.

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  7. I get most of my inspirational and creative ideas while driving or during long exercise walks. I need to travel for my job and the trips are usually on the interstate highways which tend to be boring. The same for walks, I walk for exercise and usually the same routes. I think I become somewhat bored by the drive or walk and my mind begins to wander and explore hidden thoughts or maybe I will see something interesting like a scene, or an old barn and something springs into my conscious thought process. I carry a micro-casette or digital recorder with me most of the time and record these thoughts as soon as I get them as sometimes they are forgotten if you don't get them recorded right away. I even carry the recorder when I drive to work as I get creative thoughts then as well. Also I have it next to the bed and have has inspiration when I am relaxed or sometime wake up in the middle of the night and record thoughts. I has worked for me NUMEROUS times over the years and many people over the years have called me a creative person. If they only knew my secret recorder. The harder you try and get inspired the worse it becomes, let inspiration come to you...TRUST ME IT WILL!!

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  8. Inspiration comes to me when I'm somewhere I don't want to be, usually when I have to do work that I'm holding off on (bit of a procrastinator unfortunately). Out of nowhere comes something interesting and I have to write it or else I'll lose this wonderful piece that could be my next best story. Though a lot of times I find I'm writing about things that already were written, or I lose that inspiration after about ten pages. I like how you described your moments of frustration, often I feel the same. Good luck finding your inspiration!

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