Back in January, my lovely friend Karyssa @ No Coffee, No Can Do nominated me for The Inspire Me Tag (which was created by Hannah @ Ink Blots and Coffee Stains). Thank you, Karyssa! Before you get too excited, though, be advised that this post is a discussion of what inspires me, not, in fact, an exploration of how I manage to be such an inspiring (and wonderful and amazing and humble) person. I know you’re disappointed, but please don’t cry.
The rules are thus and such:
1) Include these rules in your fabulously-written post.
2) Smile and twirl in a circle and look at your favorite inspiring thing (while trying not to fall over because now you’re dizzy) as you prepare yourself for the wisdom I’m about to impart to you.
3) Thank your gorgeous, lovely tagger.
4) Tag however many bloggers you please.
5) Have fun, be honest (we’ll know if you’re not), and answer all the questions (feel free to add some of your own!).
1. What is one of the most inspiring things for you?
Bet you never saw that answer coming.
Naturally, I’ve already discussed this multiple times, but you can never talk about coffee too much.
The long and short of it is this: caffeine doesn’t make me feel more awake, but it does focus my mind. The biggest reason I drink coffee is the flavor—a comforting mixture of nostalgia and possibilities—that gets me right into the writing mood. Sometimes, when I get an especially good coffee (or when I get any sort of coffee after craving it long enough), I will almost start crying because it’s so beautiful. #sorrynotsorry.
2. Where do you look for inspiration?
I refer you to the above.
Beyond the magic that is coffee, I also find inspiration in all sorts of places. Sometimes when I’m reading, I have to keep putting my book down so I can take notes, because even the smallest thing will get my mind going. Graveyards and rainy days and all things macabre and morbid catch my fancy as well. I like bog boardwalks and early mornings and velvety nights. History and science also give me ideas. Abandoned buildings, damaged street signs, cracked sidewalks, lonely porch swings—the list goes on.
3. When and where does inspiration tend to hit you?
Anywhere, anytime. Inspiration comes most often when I am calm, quiet, and slightly melencholic—I call this my writing mood and it’s more common early in the morning and late at night. Other times, it comes to me when I’m washing dishes or working my custodial job or showering or doing any other ask where it’s difficult/impossible to take notes. Usually, though, I have to hunt down inspiration and drag it back kicking and screaming.
4. What’s the first thing you do when inspiration strikes?
If I’m in a position where I can write down my thoughts, I’ll take the time to flesh them out a little. If not, I’ll chant the idea over and over in my head until I have, hopefully, memorized it. (This works about 75% of the time.)
5. What’s the most inspiring book/song/website/etc. you’ve found?
I’m going to cheat here and say anything by Ray Bradbury.
6. What’s one piece of advice you would give to people struggling for inspiration?
Cue cynical Liz time.
Inspiration isn’t the silver bullet that will make your book a success or even just a finished product. Sometimes the stuff you write under the influence of inspiration isn’t even as good as the stuff you have to struggle to get down. It can be tempting to rely on inspiration and forget that writing is, first and foremost, work, and no amount of inspiration will do your work for you. I say this, not to rain on your parade, but because I really wish I had had this hammered into my head when I was a younger writer. I wasted so much time assuming writing was going to be an easy journey, and when inspiration failed to visit me, I thought it meant I had hit a dead end and needed to start over rather than power through.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with inspiration, and if you really need a little extra oomph (because who doesn’t want that?), remember that it typically comes when you least expect it and when you’re not actively looking for it. Try exercising or doing some mundane, mindless task. Flip through your favorite novels and remind yourself of the small things that made you like them. Go somewhere with the kind of atmopshere you hope to recreate in your writing. Dive into nostalgia (for me, that primarily means brewing coffee). And then remember that sometimes you have to dig in and get word goop up to your elbows before inspiration decides to visit (that whole “if you build it, he will come” idea).
What about you, my little coffee beans? What are some of your main sources of inspiration?