Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Where does your burning fire of inspiration come from?

Do you think it has its season?
Some of my best moments writing are done with such discipline. Taking a nice walk is as important as part of the writers routine, and looking back they click as being some of my very best memories. I remember I use to carry salami sticks and bread in my pocket, and hike up a mountain or to a good stretch of beach, or loose myself in the trees or bike somewhere far to take in breath-taking scenery. Looking back, it’s what being a writer is really all about-mostly, when submerged into solitude as its process. I would return home hungry and look forward to eating before starting another session. And yes, cooking can also help in the process. Just the homely smells of food, especially on a cold day makes you want to create that safe cocoon about yourself. For some of you, I know its music.
But do writers really need to be alone? It’s amazing how we can be so sociable in this new tech age of blogs, twitter and face-book. Some I hear need the noise and hectic combustion of people about them. I’ve heard some sit in busy train stations or airports to pick up that energy to write something down. Sometimes one can thrive on chaos. Mostly for me I’m inspired immersed in the solitude of nature. I have been known to take sporadic moments off to my car to write in my note-books, during a break at work. Some I’m sure have switched their computer screens from office work to their word story they were working on. Sometimes it might be star-bucks or a library for a change for some, or just to get away from the noise that is at home with family by transforming one noise for another. Other times it’s just a simple balance requirement, a new perspective that one needs to reach first.
Writers are also sensitive. I have been convinced at times I shouldn’t write, when I need to concentrate on certain realities that need my immediate attention about me. Things that should be top priority, before my writing, like survival. But when nothing is moving in me- nothing gets done. And then out of the blue one’s writing appears again, saying, ‘I’m top priority, not the other stuff in reality I’m worried about.’
My fears take over and nervousness runs through me, and I’m filled with anxiety and I’m probably watching another re-run by now of the Kardasians, or it’s another cooking show, or the home buyer’s channel. Living on the edge, trying to fight- not to write, is hell. I tell myself, that there is no time for the writer right now. I must do these other things first, but the other things continue to hide. I make no lee-way with them, but now the writer is allowed TIME?
Either way, I seem to be in a dilemma, so, If I’m allowed to write suddenly- then I write, and voila, I feel happy again. That strange feeling in my gut has gone, and I can say at this point, what ever comes, I will deal with it when it shows up. All which seems to need another kind of inspiration to address those other matters now placed on the back burner again. Quite a writers process, eh?
Other times I could just be sitting quietly on the house porch with my coffee, where no note-pad is necessary and walk back inside the house to jot down notes. This has been my way mostly these days since social internet took over. But it’s the very alone moments I seem to remember mostly where I thrive in writing, when I capture the sky in a certain way, or light passing through a forest- that brings that feeling of being so alive, or reflections in the water. Feeling the chill or a warm sun and the walk home satisfied, knowing I had written so many words that morning. I would then take a substantial lunch before the next session of writing began. If I was really immersed in the writing process, I would take another short evening walk and get a third session in before the day was out, and then start all over again the next day.
But really, where does inspiration come from? And does it also have its seasons? Do you think evolution has a play in it? I have known those long periods with writing absolutely nothing too. Waiting for inspiration sometimes it’s dark and deep, or it can make you feel hopeless and drive you nuts. It can feel you have stewed forever, while learning to grow another inch or two before any inspiration returned. Maybe we need to know that other side of the coin to get inspiration. Sometimes it feels like a complete letting go is required. How many weeks or months or years elapsed for you without writing? Did you ever give up thinking you would ever write again, or even want to? What was it that hindered you?
Was it just your basic survival in these economic times? Does inspiration take faith?
To quote some passages from the bible.
A cool inspirational link that is relevant: http://bible.org/seriespage/diem-count-social-security
Matthew 6:26   Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:27   Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Then out of the blue, a little angel sprinkles inspiration dust all over you?
Suddenly you are actually writing words down again in a rush of excitement, that you can’t get them down fast enough. Did it make you suddenly feel so alive? How did that happen for you?
From whence it comes and whence it goes- I do not know, but did you ever thank that wondrous presence called inspiration after? Who and what is inspiration to you?

Jacqueline Howett


  1. It can be crazy being a writer, can't it? I know I've gone through those times where I just feel empty and uninspired and it makes me so sad. But I have to trust that the inspiration will always return.

  2. Great post.

    I get inspired at the weirdest time. I've scribbled ideas down on receipts before. Or the palm of my hand.

  3. oh man, hiking with salami sticks or bread in your pockets sounds amazing! I might hve to steal tha idea.
    I distinctly remember finding inspiration while sitting in the prow of my parent's boat, watching the sun set on the still waters of a MN lake. It does wonders for the imagination

  4. I was a technical writer, I wrote some articles on specific subjects, and kept journals most of my life, but I never thought I could actually be a writer. It's just there somewhere in my being, not exactly a hobby, but something necessary, I think. I find that when I blog I'm always inspired. Every day as I walk in nature, there is something to write about. For me, the combination of photos with short stories works really well at this time in my life.

  5. I don't know where inspiration comes from, but it isn't something I can dig up on my own. Rather, it comes of it's own volition, when it's ready make an appearance.

  6. Inspiration comes sometimes after I've prayed and prayed, and I'll be walking or driving somewhere, and the answer slides into my mind. This is what happened with my memoir that was published in May. What was wrong with it? The editor couldn't seem to figure it out. I pondered and prayed, and the next morning I woke up with my epiphany: change from third to first person, make it a memoir, not an autobiographical novel, and tell the "whole" truth. And it worked!

    I greatly appreciated your comment today on my I Almost Got Scammed post. You added another scary scenario to the others people have told me--"It can happen to anyone. But this should, I hope make you more leary [IT HAS] But I don’t know so much- they come in such disguises. They are not always about money. There are some pretending to be top agents too, just for the fun of it." Fun, fun. Trying to scam innocent people. And to think I came SO CLOSE to losing my money! Definitely a lesson learned!! I'm following your advice and everyone else's!!!!

    Thanks for stopping by. Your post is very inspiring. And reading down your sidebar, I'm amazed at all the places you been in your life--and the books you've written. I'll check them out on Smashwords!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

  7. Inspiration is a hard thing to pin down--you never know when it's going to hit you. :)

  8. great post - I think solitude does help - I don't always get enough of it, though

  9. Wonderful post, my friend. I love the solitude. A ride on my horse and inspiration always strikes! The Bible verses are two of my favorite. Thanks for reminding me of them. *waving*

  10. HI Jacqueline- thanks for the visit and lovely comment on my blog. How lovely that you got to visit Greece so often as you were growing up. It's such a beautiful country. It's sad about the violence that is occurring right now, but the people are hurting.
    this is a wonderful post. I find inspiration in so many places, often in nature.

  11. I think inspiration and the urge to keep writing comes from many places. I totally get your post, I think I suffer from all those feelings. Great post.

  12. what you say here could just as well be a slice of my mind. solitude. nature. extreme anything. chaos. peace. beauty. fear. all are necessary to write. as is the time to 'hide'. do mindless day-to-day activities without a pen in sight. to recharge? gather ideas? or just deal with reality. writing is such a complex thing. don't think there's just one recipe... rather a multitude of variations of the theme... and thanks for your visit and your comments. much appreciated. loved my visit here too!

  13. I can relate to all of this especially now... when I'm supposed to be writing and poeming away I've been empty these first two days of November. I find inspiration from nature and through prayer, but I want my answer now and it's not coming. Thanks for reminding me I'm not alone.

  14. Inspiration comes at different times for me. Something can catch my eye and all at once the "what-if" game begins. Wonderful thoughts, and I loved your scripture quotes. :)

  15. Such a great post! Love visiting your blog!

    Lola x

  16. Thanks for your suggestions and good thoughts for Soldier. I left a comment here earlier, but I just wanted to let you know that your concern for him means a lot to me.

  17. I find inspiration anywhere from nature to off folks at the supermarket. It's everywhere we look, if we're open to it! :)