Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Inspiration for Writers ~ How Do YOU Find It?


To In-Spire—To Breathe Into

All but the most hackneyed writing needs inspiration.

Where do writers find it?

Some still attribute it to a “Muse”—“the (legendary) source of inspiration for a creative artist”.

Some claim a few bottles of beer is just the ticket.

Last July I published the post, What Are The Best Books for Writers?; but, I’m not saying books are the best source of inspiration, though authors like Stephen King do recommend reading as training for writing; although, not reading books about writing. :-)

The reason I mentioned that previous post was to recall my recommending one of my best friend’s favorite magazines—Poets & Writers.

Poets & Writers has a fascinating space called Writers Recommend.

Here’s what they say about it:

“In this online exclusive we ask authors to share books, art, music, writing prompts, films—anything and everything—that has inspired them in their writing. We see this as a place for writers to turn to for ideas that will help feed their creative process.”

As of this post, there are 187 entries

I’ll give you some snippets from the first 10:

“Like lots of fiction writers, I rely on research to reduce the odds of embarrassing myself….Research gives you the chance to be a magpie, spotting those irresistibly shiny bits and pieces.”

“I love big cities for the energy, the people-watching, the access to art and culture, the ability to feel anonymous. But I also need a daily ‘forest bath,’ as the Japanese call it.”

“On Saturdays I go look at art, partly because I wish I had become a visual artist. I’m not looking for narrative work, just powerful images that will push me out of my storytelling head.”

“My list of creativity-stimulators is long. It includes coffee, meditation, a giant hula-hoop, a standing desk, Salter, Duras, Eliot (George), Milton, Carson, Robinson, Hazzard, Gardam, Bishop, Munro, Arvo Pärt, Bach, Tristan und Isolde, baby-hugs, my gigantic compendium of Shakepeare’s plays, dogs (when I have one), weeping, naps, and gratitude.”

“I recommend getting to know the time of day when you write best and guard it as zealously as possible.”

“Mary Shelley and Louise Bourgeois. All I have to do, and I could do this every day of my writing life for the rest of my life, is open up Frankenstein to any page, or open up my book of Louise Bourgeois drawings, and my gut-heart-strum is activated.”

“Viewing visual art—works that deal with ripping off the polite skin of society—stimulates me.”

“Before I was a writer, I was a traveler; as it turned out, almost all of my stories (and unfinished novels, and bad poems, and personal essays) evolved from journeying away from home.”

“I listen to music (with lyrics!) when I write, and I often need coffee and chocolate to get me into the chair. There’s all that, yes. But at the risk of sounding like an Om-loving yoga teacher, I have to admit that, lately, what’s inspired me to write is feeling grateful.”

“When it comes to inspiration, I’m an omnivore, an art whore: I’ll take it wherever I can get it.”

So, each of those 10 writers has more to say about inspiration, if you take that link to Writers Recommend, and there are 177 more entries :-)

Go check it out—take a few days or weeks to consider all the experience they share

Then, come back and let us know what you most appreciated in our Comments.

Or, don’t go there and just share YOUR favorite form of writing-inspiration in the Comments.

OR, do both! :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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4 responses to “Inspiration for Writers ~ How Do YOU Find It?

  1. Once January 30, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Since you asked concerning the inspiration for writing, the following was inspired by the question…

    “The Phrase”

    The phrase transcends the pen withdrawn
    And so, too, the movement in and of itself.
    The notebook’s filled, volumes line the shelf
    And there upon a winter’s night, the low straw
    Wins and he reviews the lot and finds the flaw
    In each. Perhaps a word crossed out, a gulf
    In time allows a light to objectivity less the self.
    And when the wheel stops, the law
    Of averages condemns the thing to sit there
    Once again, forgotten, anonymous as a star
    That far away, explodes with fireworks
    That would consume a galaxy—matter gone berserk—
    Ignite and what had no energies now amassed, a pregnant flare
    Until at last, one starry night, a whisper reaches earthly ears.
    Just so, the incomplete, the Word to words and back again
    Traverse the gap as the task of phonemes
    Aspires to ascend to higher stations, morphemes
    Honoured in this natal happy path. Observe
    Throughout the zodiac of conscious meaning
    Stars that matter to velocities in galaxies
    Reborn inspire genitive ignition in the gravity
    Of natural wisdom’s past and present leaning
    To fruition in what was always meant to be.
    The moon, in its phase; the sun, its angry season,
    The poet writes within a pendulum of forces, reason
    Bound, but nonetheless eternal mysteries
    Revealed as the Ancient of Days calls behind the present hour
    Words from phrases only time, distance and the pen can devour.
    Just so, the incomplete, from letters to words
    Traverse the gap, the task of phonemes
    To ascend to higher stations, morphemes
    Honoured in this happy path. Observe
    Throughout the zodiac of conscious meaning
    Stars that matter to velocities in galaxies
    Reborn, inspire genitive aspiration in the gravity
    Of natural evolution’s past and present leaning
    To fruition in what was always meant to be.
    The moon, in its phase; the sun, its angry season,
    The poet writes within the pendulum of forces, reason
    Bound, but nonetheless eternal mysteries
    Revealed as the ancient call behind the present hour
    Words from phrases only time and distance can devour.
    As the audience is eternal, so, too, what will compel
    The heart and mind to ideal calligraphy; the wordsmith’s nod
    Secure. And as “the source of all learning is the knowledge of God,”*
    So, too, the gravitas of the nib cannot be silenced, nor the muse expelled.

    *Bahá’u’lláh, Words of Wisdom, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai January 30, 2013 at 11:39 am

      John,

      I’m Very honoured to have your words associated with this post.

      As we’ve discussed, the woven texture of your writing can demand more attention than most efforts toward expression

      I commend those willing to work toward Meaning to visit your site :-)

      And, to help the weary traveller:

      phoneme = “any of the perceptually distinct units of sound in a specified language that distinguish one word from another, for example p, b, d, and t in the English words pad, pat, bad, and bat. ”

      morpheme = “a meaningful morphological unit of a language that cannot be further divided (e.g. in, come, -ing, forming incoming).”

      Like

      • Once January 30, 2013 at 7:48 pm

        P. S. With my eyes being what they are, I somehow missed the fact that a significant portion of the poem was repeated; this must have been confusing to anyone reading it. Below is the RSV of the poem I sent to you.

        “The Phrase”

        The phrase transcends the pen withdrawn
        And so, too, the movement in and of itself.
        The notebook’s filled, volumes line the shelf
        And there upon a winter’s night, the low straw
        Wins and he reviews the lot and finds the flaw
        In each. Perhaps a word crossed out, a gulf
        In time allows a light to objectivity less the self.
        And when the wheel stops, the law
        Of averages condemns the thing to sit there
        Once again, forgotten, anonymous as a star
        That far away, explodes with fireworks
        That would consume a galaxy—matter gone berserk—
        Ignite and what had no energies now amassed, a pregnant flare
        Until at last, one starry night, a whisper reaches earthly ears.
        Just so, the incomplete, the Word to words and back again
        Traverse the gap as the task of phonemes
        Aspires to ascend to higher stations, morphemes
        Honoured in this natal happy path. Observe:
        Throughout the zodiac of conscious meaning
        Stars that matter to velocities in galaxies
        Reborn inspire genitive ignition in the gravity
        Of natural wisdom’s past and present leaning
        To fruition in what was always meant to be.
        The moon, in its phase; the sun, its angry season,
        The poet writes within a pendulum of forces, reason
        Bound, but nonetheless eternal mysteries
        Revealed as the Ancient of Days calls behind the present hour
        Words from phrases only time, distance and the pen can devour.
        As the audience is eternal, so, too, what will compel
        The heart and mind to ideal calligraphy; the wordsmith’s nod
        Secure. And as “the source of all learning is the knowledge of God,”*
        So, too, the gravitas of the nib cannot be silenced, nor the muse expelled.

        *Bahá’u’lláh, Words of Wisdom, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh

        Like

        • Alexander M Zoltai January 30, 2013 at 8:17 pm

          Thank you for that correction, John!!

          I, too, am dealing with “failing” eyesight—as the evening wears on, I begin to wear a stronger pair of glasses :-)

          Like

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