The Writer’s Dilemma
Time and again I see writers asking the same question: “Where do I find inspiration?” Sometimes, they put it a little differently, like: “How do I get my Muse to talk to me?” Either way, I don’t think the answers are as hard to find as we might sometimes make it sound.
For myself, I’m learning a couple of things. First, inspiration or your muse or whatever you choose to call it isn’t going to talk to you unless you are ready to listen. This means one of two things to me. Either you have to be sitting at the computer with your fingers on the keyboard ready to type what your Muse dictates, or you have to let your mind go quiet so the Muse or inspiration can strike. Maybe that’s why people say they get their best ideas while in the shower or answering the call of nature or anything else which allows them to just relax and be.
Aside from just planting myself in front of the computer and letting my mind go limp, I’ve had success with finding ideas, figuring out a direction for an article I need to write or even getting inspiration, full-blown, for my NaNo novel. Here are some of the things I use when my brain becomes muddled with everyday concerns or I’m just stuck in analytical, internal editor, everything is crap mode.
- Meditation: Though not 100% successful, I try to meditate for an hour every day. Sometimes it’s 40 minutes, sometimes only 20, but my goal is an hour and I’ve learned to set a timer as there are days I could just float for the entire afternoon. In fact, a meditation the day before NaNo began this year yielded not only the concept for my latest endeavor but the title as well. It was also where I got the inspiration I needed to write an article about an event I attended a week or so ago.
- Cooking: I love the way my mind can just drift away into its own world when I’m doing something menial like chopping vegetables for a soup or stir-fry. Generally, I just keep pulling things out of the refrigerator, chopping, measuring and putting them into bowls according to the order they’ll be added to the dish. It doesn’t take a lot of concentration so my Muse is free to cavort and dream. Of course, it means I have to stop mid-chop to either run to the computer or grab pad and paper to jot the idea down before it flits away again. Such was the case tonight while I chopped what ended up being 5 mixing bowls full of assorted veggies for my latest stir-fry concoction. Twice, I had to run to the computer and start blog posts; one here and one on my website, e’er I forget them entirely.
- Dancing: One of my personal favorites. I draw my energy around me and seal that egg-shaped field which envelops my physical self. Dancing in this self-imposed bubble, there is no stress. There are no worries. I’m oblivious to the world and people around me and just for a few moments, release any concerns I might have about the outside world. Here is where the magic truly happens, and I’ve finally learned to carry a pad and pen with me at all times. Sometimes, it’s simply a characterization which comes to me because of someone I see. Other times, it’s a dialogue I’ve been needing for my current Work in Progress. Either way, it’s another inspiration I may or may not have known I needed.
- Walking: Like dancing, this allows me to close myself off into my own personal bubble while remaining semi-aware of the world around me. (after all, I don’t want to walk into the path of a car, and even when fully aware, I have trouble avoiding tripping over my own feet, a crack in the sidewalk or even a pea-sized pebble.)To be honest, I go into a kind of fugue just grocery shopping sometimes!
Living in a World of our own Creation, as Writers We Have to Find our own Way
As writers, and frankly, anyone with a creative bent, we have to figure out what works to unlock our own inspiration. What works for me might simply frustrate someone else. I know people who relax best when their hands are in the dirt or when they’re sewing: both activities which frustrate the stuffing out of me. I tend to refer to it as shutting my mind down and allowing thoughts to meander through the empty space I leave, but that’s not really it either. Nevertheless, like matter which moves to fill an empty space, thoughts, too will swirl and coalesce when they find a welcoming vessel. Thus, all I’m really trying to accomplish is to make myself the welcoming vessel; the place where thoughts, ideas…inspiration can come to play.
Will You Share Your Thoughts?
I’d love to hear what works for you. What helps you let inspiration in? What do you do to declutter your mind? What activities do you find most relaxing? Most cathartic? Leave me a comment and share your thought processes.
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful I’ve learned to allow.
2. I am grateful for discipline and lack thereof. A time for each.
3. I am grateful for community. Freelancers and writers seem to realize what so many do not: The Universe is abundant and there is enough for everyone. We don’t need to compete with each other at all. Instead, we support and encourage. Would that the world would come to this realization.
4. I am grateful for the network I’m building. I am meeting people from all walks of life because we share a common interest; a common goal. We all want to get out of the corporate rat race and be our own person, our own boss, our own motivator and the recipient of the bounty from our efforts.
5. I am grateful for abundance: community, friendship, camaraderie, love, joy, inspiration, motivation, progress, productivity, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.
I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!