Thursday, July 29, 2010

Finding Your Inspiration

"Where do you get your ideas?"

I hear this a lot and short of saying "Um, inside my brain," I usually just smile and shrug and mention how I like the other person's belly shirt and cut off jeans.

But I've decided I need a real answer so people start returning my calls.  So here it is:

Writing is catharsis for me as I imagine it is for everyone.  Whether you seek out the written word to heal your heart or it just happens to do so in the process, writing has a way of putting everyone back together again.  I believe that's why I tend to start with broken characters, people who are intrinsically hurt as if the seed was planted before birth.   

My inspiration lies in pain.

It's not as morbid as it sounds.  Or maybe it is.  Either way, I know what sets my fingers to work and there's something about the need to fix a person that keeps me typing.  But it's not the same for everyone.

There are people who want to capture fragments of time, there are others who are driven by plot and can't stop pecking at the keys until their ending is in site.  Heck, there are even those who are inspired by the drink and I ain't talking water.

If we are going to call ourselves writers then we need to determine what inspires us and alter it  for our purposes.  Whether it be emotions, memories, or people, we need to shape what inspires us, tame it to our liking and create something that not only speaks to us as writers but speaks to our audiences as well.  Maybe then people will start returning our calls.

What inspires you?  Do you find writing to be an emotional outlet that lends itself to catharsis?  Is catharsis part of your inspiration or just simply the end result of the writing process?    Do people never call you back or is that just me?


  1. Writing is absolutely an emotional outlet. It's the easiest way for me to process whatever is banging around in my head. I'm often called far too private, so it's a way for me to open up without taking that step in my real life interactions. And no it's not just you, people don't call me back either...though to be fair I don't make a lot of calls in the first place.

  2. I find inspiration in the minutiae of life. They say the devil's in the details - so is the beauty.

  3. My inspiration is the same... pain. Going through postpartum depression, divorce, and then custody battle... I had a lot of inspiration!

    Now that a lot of that is behind me... I'm remarried and a lot happier... I find my inspiration lacking. Go figure. Someone sue me please... (dude, j/k... )

  4. Writing is definitely an outlet for my emotions. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety. I felt so alone and I hoped that by blogging about it I'd help just one person going through the same thing. I have met some pretty amazing women in the progress. I think I may just be addicted to this blog thing ;)

  5. I have had a diary since I learned how to write. And I have them all boxes-some of full & some aren't. But journaling has always always been where I go to write about the happiest of happy things & the worst of the worst things & then all the stuff in the middle.

  6. "writing has a way of putting everyone back together again" - when I read those words it stopped me short, because, well.... exactly. I may not have identified pain, I may not know its there, I may not know I'm 'broken' in some way, but as soon as I write I realize that the process of getting put back together has started.

    so for me, I HAVE to write - whether I want to or not, whether I'm inspired with a great idea or not - because I know that when I DO write, I'm putting myself back together. Kind of like I know when I run, I'm putting my body back together.

    so I guess my inspiration is the writing itself - it inspires me to know I'm writing, good/bad/indifferent product is not the point.

  7. i really dont know what inspires me to write. sometimes it is when i am all alone that i could think differently otherwise i am completely mindless.... my past has been an influence for my writing too....

    and guys i haven't yet finished my meme for this week... i cannot seem to write it... and thursday is already over me... :-( will do justice this time...

  8. Well said, Ericka! I really don't know what inspires me, other than I need the outlet writing gives me. Always have. But since i haven't written fiction, I don't even know what kind of characters I'd write. Hm..

  9. newspapers
    other people's writing

  10. It's definitely an outlet for me. I think being a mother is my biggest inspiration, as well as creating the need for a lot of outletting. :) I get inspiration in dreams a lot too.

  11. Ericka,

    My inspiration lies in pain as well. I was just directed here by another blogger after something I posted on my blog yesterday. I am following you now. She said something about a prompt for tomorrow, so I'm going to investigate. I'm nervous aboout participating, but....I need to start something serious. I have a book in my head. And a desperate need to get it out there somehow.

  12. I definitely find a way of healing through writing. I have commented on my site before that I am inspired by human awkwardness. I love reminders that we are human - no matter how hoity toity someone may portray themselves to be. We are all one trip on the stairs away from being imperfect. I like to celebrate imperfection. It's what makes life great. When I think of stuff I want to write (like for a book) I am most inspired by movies (perhaps I should dabble in screenplay??) - for example, American Beauty, Margot at the Wedding, United States of Tara (not a movie but a fabulous Showtime show), etc.

  13. it's been great reading your responses and erin thank you so much for joining us! please join in on the prompt and no need to be scared - we're a supportive group! :)

  14. not much else I can say other than what Kirsten said. That's it all the way for me, too.

  15. Hmmm. I'm not sure what my inspiration is. I mean I write about life, and if I look hard enough, I can find something to write about. I think I may write according to mood. I'm just getting back in the saddle though, so maybe I'm still waiting for my niche, my inspiration.

  16. Bravo, beautifully said.

    "writing has a way of putting everyone back together again"

    Yes. There are so many things off-balance in life. When I write, I feel like I am slowly making sense of it all.

  17. Interesting thoughts, for sure.
    I'm trying to figure out where my ideas come from but "in my brain" seems to be the best answer.
    Will think more....


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