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That Elusive Inspiration.

February 28, 2010

“We seek him here, we seek him there
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere!
Is he in heaven? Or is he in hell?
That demmed Elusive Pimpernel?”

Aw, “The Scarlet Pimpernel”… a classic. I love that movie.

Anyway, the poem above is one that I have said over and over again in my head. I told my parents that I wanted a recording of the delivery of that poem from the movie, so that I could play it on a whim. And when I began mulling over the topic of “inspiration”, the last line of the poem came immediately to mind. Unfortunately, the word “inspiration” has too many syllables to fit well, but I’m going to insert it anyway:

“We seek it here, we seek it there
Those writers seek it everywhere!
Is it in heaven? Or is it in hell?
That demmed Elusive Inspiration?”

Yeah, it sounds awkward, but you get the extremely evident point. This thing we call inspiration, what is it, where is it, what does it entail? Why the heck are we so obsessed with finding it?

The search for inspiration seems synonymous with trying to catch and examine thin air, until your belief system, the one that calls inspiration “magic”, is shaken and destroyed in that glorious moment of ecstasy. You’re inspired! Slowly, the light-headed excitement wears off a bit and you’re left wondering what hit you. You try to untangle the thoughts and actions that had led to that moment of pure (what’s it called again?…) inspiration. You’re absolutely certain you brought it about despite the fact that you can’t remember how and have failed countless times before. Heck, you might even feel a bit smug.

We all have our own ways of evoking inspiration, of tempting it to emerge from the shadows it lurks in. It’s a necessity for anyone looking to do something in a creative niche. We’re all human, and we have our ways of supplying ourselves with the necessities of our nature and life.

I, for example, am one of those people who can force themselves by intensive thought and questioning to feel inspired. I can sit down and squeeze an inspired, exciting idea out through my ears. Often I have to ask others for help in order to answer my questions myself. I find that in many areas of my life, stating things aloud, or simply to someone else, helps me to reassess what I mean, problem solve, or convince myself of something/to do something. I’m always telling people what I intend to do with my day in an exact order, while my mom would rather scribble everything down on her calendar. I can talk with my cousin on the phone and say something brilliant, inspiring, and then I hang up to write it down while she laughs.

Some find inspiration in photographs (check out Regan Leigh’s awesome contest… here.), some in their surroundings, some in quotes, some in colors. Inspiration is everywhere, but very difficult to see. Our inspiration vision tends to be around 20/5000. We need to wear ridiculously thick bifocals and squint till the people around us wonder where our eyes went, but then… there it is! You’re inspired. You can sit down and right effortlessly, if only for a moment.

I’m not saying we’re confined to one way of finding inspiration. We can be surprised by what sparks our creative fire and sends us on a writing rampage. I do believe, however, that there are particular ways that are especially effective to us individually.

What ways have you found to lure inspiration from its cubby-hole in the rocks?

EDIT: Nathan Bransford has posted a boldly honest post that is truly brilliant: The Greatest Strength of a Writer: Willpower – notice it’s not inspiration? Yeah – that’s because we can’t count on it. Keep that in mind!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2010 9:37 AM

    Fabulous post! I find inspiration in movies, tv, books, music too. I love music as an inspiration. Believe it or not, I found some inspiration in making my book trailer. It helped me see things visually as well ;o)

  2. March 1, 2010 6:51 PM

    This is a nice post. I find inspiration almost everywhere especially in books, magazines, pictures, quotes, nature, well–basically everywhere.

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