People always ask me how I find inspiration. Who’s my muse?
They assume it’s something you have, or don’t. Like, you can roll your tongue or you can’t.
But inspiration is not a wacky gene in your body.
It is accessible to anyone. And, surprise, surprise. It’s free and limitless.
My ways to find inspiration are plentiful.
Here are just a few.
I know. This is vague. It can be anything. And that’s the point. Take a drive to the oceanside and let the breeze and waves wash over you. Let the wind whisper into your ears. Let the sand settle on your skin and tell you the story of its thousands of years of existence. It may have started out as a giant rock in a faraway land.
Inspiration lurks on every crumbling leaf, gentle wave or gust of warm air.
It is almost impossible not to be inspired by nature. Just think about the enormous size of planet earth, and you are a tiny human that has the privilege to be alive on top of it. Walk its many planes. How inspiring is that?
This one does not always work for me because I am a major introvert but, on most occasions, humans manage to inspire me. People are emotional, whether we like to admit to it or not.
We all experience life through our own set of eyes. We write our own stories and leave lasting impressions. We go through heartache and joyful experiences. We break out of our comfort zone, or sit alone inside of it, wallowing. Billions of people make for billions of life stories.
Ask them questions. Share your feelings with them. What’s their earliest memory? I’m sure everyone has a story about that. Ask your grandparents about their childhood or first love. Ask your parents how they met. Ask your friends about their favourite memory with you.
Inspiration sits everywhere and is waiting to be discovered.
The best source of inspiration for writing is, of course, the words of fellow writers.
Is anyone really surprised?
I don’t mean for you to copy their style and exact words. Obviously. But, look at how other writers have transformed their ideas onto paper. What do you like about their style and technique? What do you dislike? Does that poet you are obsessed with conform to a certain rhyme scheme?
Does he or she paint fantastic landscapes with words? Could you get lost in their fictional worlds forever and ever? Maybe you need to switch off after running into a writer’s block. There’s no better way to re-connect with your inner muse (and writer) than to read. The same is true for other art forms.
Music, painting, movies. What do you like about your favorite song? The melody, the lyrics, its eccentric world perception? How does it make you feel?
What’s so special about the dialogue in your favourite rom-com? Why do you cry every time you watch it? You know what will happen.
Access those feelings and channel them into your pen (or keyboard, let’s be honest).
Every day something happens in the world. Now that we are all connected across the globe, it is insanely easy to read about the happenings on the other side of the globe at the blink of an eye.
Read through the articles that interest you. What catches your eyes? How does injustice or political upheaval make you feel? How would you change it? What about climate change?
Are you frustrated? I know I am. Put it into words.
Discuss world events with friends and family.
Perhaps they can offer you a new perspective. Or make you mad.
Remember, not every character you write about will have the same political, religious or economic upbringing and ideals as you. If they do, maybe they need some further inspection.
What historical events influence the happenings of the present? Have we as humans learnt from past mistakes? How were you affected by them? Or your family?
So much room for imagination.
It is either the most obvious source of inspiration, or not obvious at all, but you are your own muse. You think, you talk, you see, you learn new things every day. You experience the world.
What bothers you? What sits on your soul and won’t let you breathe?
Why is a wave of anxiety washing through you every morning?
Your inner voice is talking to you every single minute of the day. Or every second if you’re lucky. But we often tune it out to get on with day-to-day life. Listen to her or him. Entertain the voice for a second. Don’t get carried away, just listen.
You should be your number one source of inspiration because all the things I listed above go through you. You are the sponge that absorbs the world around you. That’s how your inner life is created.
What haunts your dreams? Do you have nightmares? Your subconsciousness might be signalling you it needs a talk. Are there symbolisms that follow you around?
(I cannot stop seeing the number 7 at the moment. It’s kinda creepy!)
Tune in to the things we usually put aside. Slow down your fast steps. Take a breath. Tap into your intuition. Your deep emotions. Your shadow side. Your inner voice. I’m sure there is a lot to be expressed.
© 2021 vic lejon