The Key to Finding Inspiration

Whether you're a writer, artist, poet, crafter, or any person willing to look outside themselves for inspiration to create or do, there is never a short supply of places to find it. Recently I was loitering on Erin Morgenstern's blog and saw a link to a small etsy shop. What I saw there, sparked a domino effect of inspiring ideas which will be used in the sequel to Burning Spirit (the novel I'm currently editing).
Although it didn't look like much and wasn't very large, the simplest of things, a ring, has made all the difference.

The etsy shop is called Bloodmilk and it features a lot of unique and somewhat twisted jewelry. In particular, I spotted the homeward bound, sparrow skull ring and it looks amazing. The little ring features, you guessed it, a sparrow's skull cast in sterling silver with a simple band. The second I spotted it, I knew right away the type of character that would wear a ring like that, and a tidal wave of ideas flooded the city of my mind, taking out buildings and floating heavy vehicles downstream.

The thing about inspiration is that it can come to you in the most basic of ways, but you have to be looking for them. Before I saw the ring, I'd been brewing ideas about the second book for months. I've been weaving the plot together time and sequencing it for maximum impact and enjoyment by you, my lovely readers. You see, the story was already in my head, but the ring became the shape of a missing puzzle piece.

In the movie Mothman Prophecies, a main character picks up on the unnatural occurrences going on and it's mentioned to the main character that the spirits/beings/ghosts noticed that the main character noticed them. To clarify, they were told, "They noticed that you noticed." This is a big key when it comes to inspiration. When you pick up on the world around you, when you actually look at it, examine it, notice it, then the world around you notices you looking. Your reward is the inspiration.

Yeah, it's a ring made from a bird skull. So, freaking what? But I recognized it as more, and so it became more. Does this make any sense? I swear I haven't dipped into Grandma's "Special" Brownies.

Inspiration is only as deep as the hole you dug for it.

If you spend no time thinking about your project, then no inspiration is going to fill it in. It's just not. Uncross your fingers. Put your hand down. Close your mouth. The muse flew away along time ago from disinterest, just like you did. BUT, if you make room for inspiration, and your project is occupying your mind, then the inspiration will be all around you.

Inspiration for a story/character/artwork/poem/painting/collage/day dream can come from virtually anywhere, if you're looking. Maybe it's a feather sitting limp on the ground, a made up whistle you hear across the aisle at the grocery store, people watching (a favorite activity anywhere I go), or eaves dropping on a stranger's conversation. God knows this last one is easy considering how loud people are on their cell phones. {Pet peeve #214: Loud cell phone talkers in public.}

I also get a lot of inspiring scenes coming to me from misheard sayings. People mention something to me in a crowded room or somewhere where a lot of noise is a constant and my mind just wanders off with the syllables I heard and pieces them together into great lines of dialogue and scene starters. Most recently my daughter said something inaudible at a restaurant which I took to be, "You can have my sunrise." Bam! Inspiration. I already know exactly who in my sequel will say this and why, now it's my job to build a fitting scene around it.

Not everything will be inspiration, however, some of it will just be interesting or noteworthy, and that's that. I also told my daughter to get out of the tub one time and I swore she said, "Okay, just let me find my cashew." Funny? Yes. Inspiration? Nah.

I leave you with this: Go with your gut. Keep your work in progress, in progress, and inspiration will find you. If you close the book, waiting for inspiration to open it, then it's going to be a long lonely time between sessions.

Where do you find items of inspiration? Leave comments below.

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