Thursday, June 26, 2008

Inspiration? Where can I get me some of that?

Inspiration is a funny thing.

It can strike at the oddest times. Standing in the shower, thinking about nothing. Watching the birds outside your window or the squirrels tear through your neighbors garden.

And it can be the most finicky, most persnickety, most stubborn bitch that ever put her hand in your face and told you where to get off.

When it does strike, you think you've got it made. But what happens when you keep waiting for it to show... and it decides to do a disappearing act worthy of David Copperfield?

If you're on deadline, you can't wait for the muse to ring your bell. So how do you find inspiration in the minutia of everyday?

Hell if I know. But what I do know is, if you don't write, you won't be inspired.

Writing, in itself, is an inspiring act. Even if you only write two paragraphs a day, you've created something from nothing. Maybe it's only two lines of dialogue, but if you've read Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series (I just finished FEARLESS FOURTEEN) you know how much Ranger can convey with just one "Babe."

Some people can spark their muse with writing exercises. I personally think if you're going to write, make it count. Collages? Can you hear me gakking from where you are? I'd rather pull out my eyelashes with tweezers. Long walks? No, but I do some of my best thinking when I run, usually because I'm trying to take my mind off the fact that I still have two miles out of a four-mile run to go.

So, what recharges my battery? There's absolutely no substitute for reading a good book. Even one you've already read. Sometimes, an old favorite is better. It's a known quantity, like those comfy sweats you break out when it's dull and gray outside and you've just gotten your 10th rejection out of 10 submissions and you polished off a pint of Cherry Garcia.

Revisit old friends who made you happy.

And try to recapture the magic.

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