Inspirations for Writing
Have you ever read a book, watched a movie, listened to a song, or looked at a piece of art and wondered, ‘Where did the artist find the inspiration for that?’ Even things as simple as a blog or web post can hold significant meaning and the inspiration for the piece had to come from somewhere.
As I started my career as a writer I would often try to force an idea to come to me. I would sit at the computer, staring at the white of the screen, and try to force the idea to come. Whether I needed a plot devise, a new character, or a twist, no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t force the ideas to form.
I then started to take a new course of action. I would write as much as I could, skipping over the part that I wasn’t sure about. The funny thing was that often, as I got further into the story, the idea would seem to develop itself. The story would tell me what I needed to do. When that wasn’t enough though, I would throw my headphones on, put together a playlist of great tunes, and just sit back with my eyes closed for ten to fifteen minutes, listening to music. I would clear my mind, not focusing on anything. Amazingly, I came up with some great ideas doing that.
People often ask me where I came up with some of my best ideas. Where the overall idea for some of my books or where the characters came from. I draw inspiration from many different sources. My favorite, which I think is very obvious from my writing, is from the time I spend in nature. I could walk in forests and State Parks everyday if I had the time and ability. You can walk the same trail a hundred times and the trail will be different every time.
Laying on the beach, watching the sunset over the lake then seeing the nocturnal animals and stars come out while nestled up to my wife is something that I look forward to all winter. The ideas and stories that come to me during those times are always great. The days that we spend on the lake, paddling the canoe is another time when my mind is clear and I don’t have to focus intently on anything.
When I was farming and spending long hours in machine, just driving up and down the fields, my mind was able to wander and find the ideas that I used to create some of my first screenplays and novels. Hiking in the forests or spending time in a museum would always result in great ideas to use in my writing.
One thing that I’ve always been taught, is when something is working, figure out why it’s working and distill it down. I studied all the times that I would find my moments of inspiration and discovered that it’s when my mind is still and I’m not stressed or worried about everything else going on in the world. When I am relaxed and allowing my mind to work on its own, not forcing it to work in a specific direction.
Between work, writing, family, and friends, it seems like there’s hardly any time left for anything else but once I discovered where I come up with my best ideas, I began to make more time for reflections. When I can be in the forest or on the lake I know that I will be coming up with the best ideas for my writing. Many times I find myself going back and either adding or changing to works that I have already done, having come up with a better concept or characters.
I’ve spoken to many people and what I’ve found is that each one is different when it comes to finding their inspiration for their art. Some need to be pushing themselves to the limit, working their brains to the maximum to discover something. Others need to be working on specific projects. Others find their inspiration when working out. Another writer friend keeps a note pad and pen with him when he fishes, spending as much time writing notes down as casting his line.
When you make the commitment to become a writer, or artist of any kind, you will need those moments of inspiration. You have to learn where you come up with your best inspirations and cultivate those situations. Inspiration cannot be forced but it can be encouraged and one of the differences between a good writer and a great writer is which one knows how to find the inspiration to write.
To see my greatest inspirations and to keep up with the comings and goings of the writing world, head over to my website, www.leifericksonwriting.com While there, you can read my blogs, see what new stories I’m working on, and of course, buy my books. Thank you.