By Sylvie Humphreys
It’s 2 AM and Margeret just can’t seem to catch some “shut-eye”. A school of thoughts and ideas begins to swim in her mind’s ocean. Forget about counting sheep; Margaret can’t even concentrate long enough to focus on the likes of numbers. Instead, she decides to turn on the lamp on her nightstand, as she often finds herself doing. She then proceeds to grab the pen and notepad she always keeps next to her bed in the event of those seemingly rare moments of inspiration. Like an overflowing oil well, Margaret begins to write. She can now empty the library of her mind unto the pages of her notepad. According to the old adage, she must strike while the iron is hot!
Does this sound like you?
Or perhaps, you’re like James who prefers to meet up with his writing buddies once a week to sharpen his writing skills, more often if he is approaching a critical deadline. After all, as the old sayings go: birds of a feather flock together, and iron sharpens iron. Or maybe you’re like Nia who enjoys taking long trips to remote places to immerse herself in what nature has to offer such as serene atmospheres, picturesque landscapes, and outdoor activities that enhance her kinesthetic awareness. Out of that stimuli is born a wealth of data from which she can draw inspiration and pen her ideas. Or, finally, you may be like Nathan who has had more lemons thrown at him than an entire lemonade stand. Therefore, he uses his experiences to help others just like him traverse the murky waters of life. My dear fellow writers, despite your writing predicament, here are four (4) primary sources of inspiration shared by most writers:
If you are like me, you experience what I like to call, “Owl Syndrome”, not to be confused with the medical condition, “Night Owl Sleep Disorder”. You may often find yourself awake at night trying your darndest to shut your mind and get some much-needed rest. However, no matter what methods you employ—word repetition, listening to sleep app, praying, meditating, or concentrating so hard that you give yourself a headache—they all prove futile. Moreover, if you’re also like me, you have a 9-5 (or 8-6 in my case) job that requires you to report very early in the morning. Let’s not even mention that you may have school-aged children and/or a household or other responsibilities to which you must fully avail yourself daily. However, the harder you try to fall asleep, the more difficult it becomes to do so—the more your mind races. So like Margeret, you reluctantly give in and find yourself turning on the lights, seeking out writing utensils to complete the task of offloading your mind—thoughts, ideas, fears, apprehensions, and anything that would grant you the respite you eagerly desire!
Sometimes, it’s a revelation from a dream you just had; other times, it’s an epiphany from the past day’s encounters. More often than not, it’s a season-long conundrum that still haunts you. Whatever the catalysts behind your night wakings or inability to find rest may be, they serve as inspiration for your next creative works, whether it be your next blog, poem, novel, “how-to” piece, self-help book, autobiography, memoir, or the like.
Lastly, some writers are daydreamers who easily drift off into the abyss of their own thoughts, regardless of the time of day. They find inspiration in almost anyone or anything they encounter. Their minds are like an endless spring. Thoughts after thoughts perpetuate their psyche and dominate their mental faculties. One idea snowballs into another, and their imagination is stimulated. They are the ones who keep a journal in their purses, bookbags, or briefcases just in case something sparks the creative genius in them.
Whether you are a member of a job-search group, Toastmasters club, or part of any organization, networking still remains the primary means of exchanging ideas, having a meeting of minds, and ultimately connecting with like-minded individuals. With that said, the same thing applies when it comes to writing. As we all know, there is a variation of personality types. Moreover, based on a series of assessments and scenario-based questions, personality tests like Myers-Briggs can help you determine where you fit in a spectrum of interests and proclivities. Likewise, there are those writers who thrive in seclusion while there are others who need to be among other writers for creative sparks to fly. It is up to you to determine what works best for you or which environments are more conducive to your productivity in the writing sphere.
Somewhere on the list of sources of inspiration for writers is nature. It may be safe to assume that most, if not all, writers could benefit from an occasional break from the norm—the mundane, the monotonous life. I can’t think of one individual that would object to being afforded the chance to travel to the outskirts of the fast-paced life, the hustle and bustle, or the constantly accumulating responsibilities of adulting to find some peace and quiet. Everyone functions and produces differently; nonetheless, many writers find solace in the tranquilty of remoteness—being away from everything! Perhaps, it’s the fact that they are able to hear themselves think and organize those thoughts into palpable and palatable ideas on paper. Or maybe it’s because there’s something about nature that just brings out the best in all of us. Whatever the case may be, writers from all walks of life can draw inspiration from the sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and even the things they can feel or experience when basking in nature’s limitless offerings.
It is often said in life that experience is the best teacher. After all, what can convince us more than actually having had an encounter with reality? No one or nothing else can persuade us, otherwise, from the truth than that which resonates with us through our own experiences—our sensory cues. Every writer at some point or the other has incorporated something from his or her own life into his/her writing, whether good or bad. Both pleasurable and traumatizing experiences can serve as muses for our creative works. In fact, there is a plethora of self-help books and blogs out there created by authors who possess expertise in particular areas and use those experiences as the foundation upon which to assist others who may be travailing the same paths of life. From poverty to prosperity or from the prison cell to the
penthouse, you can find literature on some topic that may resonate with readers from all over the globe.
Essentially, people have the propensity to relate to others who may share or have experienced similar fates as them. Of course, why would you expect otherwise? After all, I’m not sure if it’s because of the old expression: misery loves company or the fact that knowing you could triumph over a seemingly insurmountable set of circumstances since someone else has. Whatever your reason for writing, life’s experiences, firsthand or secondhand, are indubitably the number one source of inspiration for most writers! Ultimately, who can tell it better than the one who has been through it and overcame?