October 7, 2011

Friday Fives: Finding Inspiration

The funny thing about inspiration is that all too often we don't recognize it for what it is until after the fact. Sometimes the words just spill onto the page and we take a moment, look at it and go "Huh, so that's where that came from". This can be a bad thing (like when you realize you've inadvertently used a name or idea from a book you read two months ago...whoops!) but mostly it's anything but bad. I'll probably never be able to put my finger on all of the little things that influenced or inspired my writing, but these are some that I know for sure:

1)  Reading
Reading really great books (and even some not-so-great ones) in the genre that my current WIP falls under, but also reading other YA stories to get a better feel for the teen characters, setting, conflict, and so on. All of it is helpful in some form or another, and aside from all that, it just makes me happy. Happy Jaime = Inspired Jaime (most of the time).

2)  Sounding Boards
Bouncing ideas off my husband and sister (not literally, because that would hurt) and getting their feedback. My sister and I discuss our WIPs fairly frequently, and that has been tremendously encouraging for me (Thanks, Erin!). I can't tell you how many times I've asked her, "Is that stupid or cliché?" about an idea I've had for my story.

                                                     3)  Music
I hear music everywhere, and there are a number of songs that have provided inspiration for my current WIP. The tune, the lyrics, even sometimes the videos for these songs all move me, making me feel a certain way. The song doesn't even have to have anything to do with my story, but because it evokes certain emotions it inspires different parts of my writing. Speaking of music... Sadly, this blog prompt has gotten the nothing-short-of-brutal 80s Chicago song "You're the Inspiration" stuck in my head. Awesome. "You're the meaning in my life, you're the inspiration..."

4)  Re-reads
Re-reading what I wrote previously (in the same WIP) helps me get back into the mood. One of the first things I do when I sit down to write in the morning is read over what I wrote the previous day. I make a few adjustments here and there, but mostly it just helps me to get back into the zone and move forward. Plus, it has the added benefit of (most days) making me like my story all over again.

5)  Lurking
Following other blogs and seeing fellow writers' journeys keeps me plugging away at my own work. Knowing that these other aspiring authors wrestle with self-doubt too, that they have the same hopes and fears that I do encourages me to continue. Watching some of them reach the goal of finding an agent, and then getting published is inspiring to me, and makes me feel like it could be a possibility for me too.

9 comments:

  1. Reading and lurking inspire me! Great point that inspiration isn't always conscious.

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  2. Good point about re-reading the WIP to get in the mood...this is especially helpful when you are writing as time allows instead of on a regular routine.

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  3. Great inspirations. Re-reading is a good one and following blogs is great too.

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  4. Ooo... sounding boards, yes. My brother is working on a novel, and he and I will often share ideas and ask for feedback. If nothing else, it helps us spur each other on. Music has also helped me get "in the mood"--especially when the songs deal with the same theme as my work. Good list!

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  5. Yes, I personally don't know what I'd do without my sounding boards. Who else would smack me in the head (metaphorically) and tell me I'm being such a cliche? I mean, sometimes I need to hear it. ;) lol

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  6. Amen to all of these! I'm with Holly. If I didn't have my sounding boards, I doubt I'd ever hash anything out.

    Great list!

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  7. great list! These are all things that make a huge difference to me, too.

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  8. Love your list! Music and lurking also inspire me. :)

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  9. Totally forgot about the sounding boards. I've been using them more frequently lately!

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