How to tap into endless sources of inspiration
“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Inspiration for creative endeavours, such as writing, really is not that hard to come by. Just as long as you are prepared to let your senses take over and take notice, there is a world full of inspiration all around you.
For me, the magic is in the small things. As soon as I stop for a while, allowing myself a moment’s rest in my garden, I am almost overwhelmed by impressions I can find inspiration in. I take pleasure in observing the ecosystem around me, that my husband and I seem to have created in our wild garden. I allow myself a moment to be amazed by how plants grow and enjoy the daily toils of animal life.
On those rare moments when it is truly quiet, I concentrate on what I do hear — the muted drone of nearby traffic, the rustling of leaves, the humming of the bees, the cawing of the jackdaws, the distant roar of the sea. I watch insects frequent flowers and make their way across the plants. I observe ants, always busy tending to their nests, that huge system of halls and corridors and little chambers I know is right beneath our feet. I inhale the scent of the flowering plants, mixing with the smell of our old pine tree and the crisp sea air. From all of this I draw inspiration, allowing my fantasy to run wild, making up stories in my head.
A good story writes itself
… or so I have been told. In itself, this is a true enough statement, but its simplicity does not quite address the complexity of a writer’s process. For one thing, a writer seldom consciously sets out to write a “good” story. A writer simply feels compelled to write, whenever inspiration hits. The consideration whether a story is going to turn out good, is not an issue here — that comes later.
I believe the best start for a story is a “what if” question.
Applying it to the impressions you draw from nature, for instance, may produce interesting theories well worth writing down.
“What if… birds could talk, what would they say? Would they say “thank you” for the food we put out for them every day or would they scold us for being late doing just that?”
“What if… ants had the strength to lift chairs and tables, would they move us away from the entrances to their nests?”
“What if… one of those low flying planes would actually crash in our garden one day?”
“What if… the sky would one day open to let through an alien vessel?”
“What if… the sea reclaimed this land we live in?”
To name but a few modest examples. Once you allow to let your fantasy to run free, you will imagine bigger and better “what ifs”. The possibilities are endless.
“Where do I get my ideas? The more pertinent question is…how do I make them stop?”
― Stephen King, On Writing
My point? To the keen observer, inspiration comes naturally. And to an observant writer, the ideas will never stop.
This post was first published on Medium, in my publication Hearts in the Write Place, on February 16, 2019.