Welcome! Another question today. My Minion (Joel Rede) asked me “What inspires you?” Well, is “everything” an acceptable answer? At least that’s the immediate answer that usually pops into my head. However, the more I think about it, the more I go off on a tangent. More often than not, I’m inspired by a multitude of things all playing off of each other, but sometimes I’m not feeling inspired at all. So, while I’m going to talk about sources of inspiration for me, I’m also going to address what I do when nothing is striking me.
I’m easily inspired (it’s awesome, but it’s also a curse because I have SO MANY unwritten or forgotten stories). I’d say that music has the biggest impact on my writing topics. Sometimes, it’s a whole song that catches my attention. A lot of the time, it’s a single line or even just a word that piques my curiosity. I’ve written a screenplay based on a song, and I’ve written short stories that were inspired by a verse or less. The mood of whatever music I listen to also has its fair share of influence on my writing. It’s just one of those things.
Another source of inspiration is people. I’m a people watcher. If I’m obviously staring at you, chances are that you’re not even on my radar, but that guy arguing with a tree (or someone hidden by the tree) behind you definitely has my attention. C’mon. Who doesn’t want to know why the guy is yelling at the tree nymph? Scenes like that, ones that probably have a completely reasonable explanation, are the best things ever! Combine them with snippets of overheard conversations, and you’re golden. It’s especially amusing if you’re somewhere like an anime convention where you have a lumberjack-looking guy dressed as Sailor Moon flirting with a furry. I couldn’t make this stuff up.
The world is full of inspiration if you’re open to it, but what about the days it fails you? I write anyway. I’m not a believer in writing only when inspiration strikes, because frankly (and I’ve said this before), the muse is a fickle bitch. If you wait for her, you’ll never get anything done. Yeah, you might get 5000 words written one day, but then you’ll hit a month long dry spell. What’s the good in that? On the other hand, I don’t advocate writing every single day, so if you’re consistently inspired five days out of the week, go ahead and take those other two days off guilt free.
If you’re like me, and some days the words just won’t come, write them anyway. It usually happens when I’m between big projects or I’ve hit a spot that I haven’t quite decided how to work my way through. On those days, I free write. I let my mind go blank, then write whatever pops into it. A lot of the time, I just end up writing a three page rant about why writing/certain characters/plotting/whatever sucks. Sometimes, a sentence will pop into my head and lead to a three page description of a new story or novel. So, even free writing can lead to inspiration!
In other words, whether you find inspiration in music or people or art (another big one for me) or in nothing at all, keep creating. Maybe one day, you’ll be the one inspiring people. Maybe you already are and just don’t know it. Keep it up!