Sometimes you find it in the oddest of places.
When I began working on The Trust I was flying home and started typing at 20,000 feet. To this day I can’t remember where I had traveled, but I remember as I looked out over a blanket of clouds it was, at that moment, time to start writing. That was inspiration enough for me, though I had been waiting for that delivery for the better part of a decade.
One year during the holiday season I was traveling the back roads of Virginia searching for a Christmas tree. I visited farm after farm without success. While I knew I would find the right one, I knew patience was the rule of the day.
Earlier during the day I’d made a conscious decision to turn off the writer in me to focus on the Christmas tree quest. However, as I was traveling the Virginia countryside, quite by chance, I noticed the name of a particular road.
The name inspired a character and a plot line in a matter of moments. There ended my Christmas tree quest and set me quickly on the path home. (Fortunately for all concerned my trip home took me by the most wonderful Christmas tree farm so I returned home not only inspired, but with tree in hand.)
The point of this is that inspiration can and does strike when you least expect it. You have to be ready for it. However perhaps the better question is, “How do you create inspiration to avoid the wait?”
Simple. Learn what inspires you and do it.
I have a friend that is both a talented guitarist and photographer. We frequently go out with cameras in hand having picked a location or an event and spend the morning taking photographs. When we go over our work, it’s amazingly motivating and inspiring to see the perspective another lens had on what I just photographed.
He would tell you we also get together from time to time to play guitar. I would describe it a bit differently. As proficient as I am on the guitar, my friend runs circles (or should I say “runs scales”) around me. So our time “playing” is spent mostly with me asking, “How did you do that?” Followed by his very patient efforts to show me.
Check out some of James Slater’s music at JamieSlaterOnline.
For reasons that I really don’t grasp, when I see and hear another’s creativity (like James Slater), I’m inspired myself to be creative.
Something about seeing the creative product of others makes me want to do the same. Whether it is a photograph, a live performance, the written word or even something esoteric. For me, creativity inspires creativity.
The second thing that inspires me is when others respond to my writing.
I’m keenly aware that in a time of immeasurable demands from friends, family, work and the like, that everyone’s time is a precious commodity. For people to take their time to read not only a book, but my book (and then to actually follow up by posting a review or mentioning my book) is humbling beyond words.
Recently out of the blue a friend took the time to post about my book on her blog. She didn’t have to take the time to do this, but she did. Check her blog out here.
When I see this, I’m inspired to create more.
That is, at least as I see it, the essence of inspiration. Sure, it will strike at the most unexpected of times, but you may not be ready when it does. You may even miss it. So learn how to create or even just find inspiration without leaving it to chance.
This is the perfect time of year to kick start your inspiration. We’re halfway through the year. You should have a handle on whether the New Year’s resolutions are even still on the table. We also have Independence Day just around the corner. If you are wondering what to do for the 4th, fire up the grill and check out my recipe for Pulled Pork BBQ, Macaroni & Cheese or another tasty treat on A Taste of The Trust.
However, if you’re in need of inspiration, take a moment and reflect on the date of our Independence, the date of our Nation’s birth and founding. Regardless of what you think, or don’t think, about the current state of affairs, you get to think it and write about it with a freedom that has alone served as the inspiration for many who have come before. Use that and get to writing!
Best wishes for a great holiday!