Jack London once said, "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." Now I am not advocating clubbing anything, but London was right, inspiration does not just appear out of the blue. It takes work!
Take today for instance. It snowed all day yesterday, froze last night, and now we're experiencing freezing rain. It's cold, gloomy, and icy. All I wanted to do was curl up with a blanket and a book, and up until a few hours ago that is just what I did. There was no mental stimulation to do anything. I was not feeling creative nor did I want to get out of my cozy chair and write. I did not feel inspired. Then, I remembered my mini daily goal of 200 words on my work-in-progress. I hit the computer and 2 hours later I had 1,800 new words on my book, a 500 word non-fiction article, and four more ideas for StoryStorm 2017. That brings me to the first place to find inspiration--in your own work.
Pablo Picasso said, "Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working." It's okay to day dream, but when the mind refuses to look for creativity, nothing works better for me than work. Reading what I wrote the day before, or even the entire chapter written over several days gives my brain the needed electrical shock to jolt it into action.
When Albert Einstein said, "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better," I do not think he was talking about writing. However, what great advice for writers. When you need inspiration, why not look to nature. Take a walk. Listen to the wind as it rustles through the trees. Check out the woodpecker tat-tat-tatting above you. Open your eyes, ears, and heart to what is going on around you.
My favorite place to find inspiration is wherever children are. Their smiles, their eyes, their outlook on life, the games they play, the wonder they find in even the smallest pebble, not to mention the thousands of questions they ask inspire me to write. Eric Hoffer said, "Children are the keys of paradise." If you are a children's author, then I would say, "Children are the keys to inspiration." If you have young children and are lacking inspiration, read a book together and let them ask their "Why" questions. It takes only one to clear your vision and let your imagination flow. If you don't have children, then spend an afternoon reading to kids at the library. For me there is no better way to obtain more ideas than I can manage.
Lastly, look at life through the lens of a camera. There is something magical about what appears in that small window before you snap the picture. The other day, I was watching photographer Art Wolfe's Travels to the Edge,and he said something that I will never forget. He was taking photos of people in African villages, and concentrating on the faces. He said he liked to get as close to the face as possible so that there is a connection between the subject and the viewer. In other words, he wanted whoever sees the picture to be connected through the eyes with the individual in the shot. Inspiring? You bet! This is how I was inspired to write my non-fiction article today. As I was writing, a Blue Jay flew into one of my dog's dishes. I had my camera, so I slowly took the lens cap off and zeroed in on his lavender blue wing feathers. The structure, the depth, and the dimension of color was almost awe-inspiring. And it provided two new picture book ideas for StoryStorm 2017.
So next time you are trying to find inspiration, try one of the four ideas I use. Who knows, you might just club the one that will be a best seller.