Thursday, January 5, 2012

Can one search for inspiration?

How does inspiration happen? Is it a lightening bolt that wakes you up, or a random thought in the shower? For me, it's often either, or both. It's the when of inspiration that seems to be the most difficult part. I often have that moment of pure, blissful clarity as I am in my car without any way of sharing it, or as the shampoo is dripping down my face and coming dangerously close to my eyelashes. I think I will remember it, I will myself to remember it, but all too often I fail.

Inspiration funny though: I believe that I experience these random acts of brilliance exponentially more often when I am seeking itafter a long absence and not for too long. I have committed myself to finishing my favourite of my 3 WIPs, and just yesterday I had a flash of realization, an unravelling of the gnarled plotlines in which I had become hopelessly entangled. I saw, clear as a dirt path through a thick forest, how to avoid the formerly inevitable ninja-monks from having to save my plot. I had been racking my brain, begging for this kind of revelation for months prior to 'temporarily' shelving the whole shebang.

(A tweet from @fakeNaNoWriMo back in November that said something to the effect of: when in doubt, add ninjas was hilarious to me considering the horror I was facing.)

Having the curtain lifted, seeing the answer that should have been there the whole time, made me think: what is inspiration, and can I really call it at will? Is it an energy that as it is used depletes? Is it a muscle that grows stronger with practice? Is it completely random and unintentional for humans - a brief glimpse of the brilliance of God?

Whatever it is, I am elated that it came to visit me. I never realized how unhappy I was about the death-by-ninja that awaited my beloved novel.

I fervently wish that the angel of inspiration, for an angel it seems to me, comes to visit you all this month! Happy writing!


  1. I just love the moments when I'm inspired, especially if those moments cause me to react or take action immediately.

  2. It's difficult to identify what prompts inspiration. Like you, I struggled to find the final thread to weave together my plot. For months I racked my brain about it. Finally, I decided to revisit it at a later date. About a week after this decision, the lightbulb came on. I then realized that the brain unconsciously works through our problems. Since then, I have quit worrying about inspiration. I've learned that my muse will eventually return from her coffee break. She works hard. I just need to be patient.

  3. I enjoy going for sunset jogs. Very inspirational.

  4. It's nice to know that I'm not alone when I'm fencing/avoiding/waiting for my muse!

    Thanks for commenting!