Writing inspiration and How to Find it

writer's backgroundWhen I first sat down to write this inaugural blog, I had in mind the typical “3/5/7/10 tips to find your writing inspiration” piece. Then I realized that to cover all of the different ways people find inspiration to do creative work, I would have to come up with a list of 100, 150 – or more.

So, instead, I thought I would share some interesting ways other writers handle the problem of mustering the motivation. Then add my five cents, of course.
To that end, I did a quick poll among my writing buddies and found that one goes for a fast-paced run, another takes a bubble bath, and one even plunges into house cleaning to get in the mood. Now that last one truly baffles me, but who am I to judge?

Now if I were one of those who need even more work I’d get a pet, perhaps following Muriel Sparks’ famous piece of advice from A Far Cry from Kensington, where she says that “If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat.”
Then again, that’s too much work. 

yogaSo what else? I was recently intrigued an article in the Writer’s Digest about mindful meditation. It discusses the scientific research that is increasingly proving what Buddhist monks have known for centuries – that if you let your mind to go to a dark, quiet place it can free itself from the bounds of rigid, unimaginative thinking. Personally, my overactive mind makes meditation somewhat challenging, but I’m a regular yoga practitioner, and it has done wonders for my mental health in the last 5 years.

Then there is author Liz Crowe, who in a recent blog on the Women’s Fiction Writers’ website, claims jokingly (although who knows??) to have found inspiration in “Hans [who’s] hot and he likes beer. “ I say good for her.
I may have my own Muse (though, regrettably, he doesn’t drink at all), but what’s an even more sure-fire way to put me in the mood for writing – especially on those sunny weekends when I’d rather be out biking rather than hunched over my laptop – is beautiful landscape. Or, barring that, beautiful architecture, because landscape is hard to come by in downtown Boston.

Beacon-HillSo what’s my go to (literally)? It’s Beacon Hill, which found itself recently on the list of the most beautiful neighborhoods in America, a decision with which I fully concur. Luckily within a walking distance of my apartment, it is breathtaking with its quaint townhouses dating back to the early 1800s, narrow cobblestone streets, brick sidewalks, and did I mention gas street lights? Whether in spring bloom, decorated for Halloween, or under steadily falling snow, it is a place that instantly takes me to a different era, which for a historical fiction writer is pure gold. I come back home physically energized but mentally mellow, which sounds kind of odd, but it works for me. Then I make a cup of tea and sit down to write.

Ultimately, everyone must find what works for them. I love classical music, but I find it doesn’t really make me want to write. Rather, it relaxes me, and then I want to sleep. But if you find what gets your creative juices flowing, do it/practice it/go there often – who knows, the habit may even rewire your brain in such a way that one day it may be enough to think about it, and you’ll be ready to hit the keyboard and write the night away.

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