Random Spring Thoughts

Howdy, howdy!  I want to take a second to say thank you to Derek Hoffman one more time for his guest post last week!  I’m in the process of lining up more guests in the future, so if you’re interested in something like that, feel free to e-mail me (shawna.n.borman@gmail.com) or get in touch via my social media pages.

And now, on to this week.  Happy spring!  I had zero ideas what to blog about this week, so Dad suggested I do a post of random thoughts I’ve been having lately.  Therefore, if you don’t like this post, blame him.  Anyway, here are five things that have been on my mind recently.

da30dfd0-cebb-0133-779f-0e7c926a42af
They’re so cute and fuzzy!!!  Yes, cute and fuzzy makes me abuse the exclamation mark.

1. I’ve been wondering why it always seems harder to write words the closer I get to the end of a story.  I still haven’t finished the shitty first draft of my current novel attempt (I know, I know… judge me all you want), even though I’m only a few thousand words away from typing THE END.  Revision ideas keep popping into my head, but I make a note and then ignore them, like a good little writer.  It’s like my brain doesn’t want me to finish.  But I will prevail!  I’ll reach THE END, then I’ll get stuck in the editing process and complain about that for a while.  Am I the only one with this problem?

2. Recently, I finished reading a book and told myself I wasn’t going to start another one until I finished the one I put down without finishing for various reasons (none of which have to do with the book itself).  The next day, I wore my Howl’s Moving Castle t-shirt and realized I hadn’t read the book yet, so I started reading that instead.  I feel like a very fickle reader.  Shame on me.

10703606_hi
I should probably buy some new shirts.

3. Honestly, I’ve been thinking a lot about my Stonecoast friends.  I was feeling really isolated, especially since it’s pretty much writing con season (ICFA, AWP, StokerCon, etc.).  But then I realized my Stonecoast people are magical psychic unicorns, because within a few days of my thoughts, I received a Facebook message saying someone was thinking of me and a surprise package in the mail from someone else.  Also, I know I’m not the best at keeping in touch with people, but I really do appreciate them.

4. I want to start drawing again.  It’s something I’ve randomly thought about for a while now, but I’ve been too lazy to see if my tablet thingamajig even works any more.  It’s super old.  Maybe I’ll just buy a new one so I don’t have excuses.  (P.S. This drawing desire will fade soon, so don’t expect anything new from it.)

Random Pose
It’s the only realistic picture I’ve drawn that I really liked, even though I totally screwed up the perspective of the flooring in the background.  I mostly just like to color.

5. Multiplication tables.  When I have trouble getting to sleep, I’ve started doing multiplication in my head.  I start at one and go up to thirteen, then two to thirteen, and so on until I reach thirteen times thirteen or until I fall asleep.  It’s actually been pretty helpful with the sleep bit, but I’m still slow at math.

There you have it.  Five bits of random thoughts.  Feel free to share some of your own thoughts here or on my social media pages!

Accountability: Like Due Dates But Different

Howdy, howdy!  I was really having a hard time deciding what to write about when a friend sent me a text thanking me for being the voice in her head asking if she was at least thinking about writing.  It gave her the nudge she needed to stop at a place after work and take a little while to have a cup of tea and write some words.  She hadn’t written in a while, but she wanted to, so I told her I’d pester her every day or so until she started writing.  The second day of pestering and she’s already making time for it.  That’s what happens when you’re held accountable for things like this, you make time for them.

castiel
I know, Cas.  I know.  I’ll go do that.

 I don’t know about you, but I always work better with deadlines in place.  At school, I could knock a ten page paper out in one night if I had to, as long as the research was done ahead of time.  Deadlines meant grades.  In the real world, missing deadlines affects the pay from the day job.  In other words, deadlines carry the threat of consequences.  But what’s going to happen if you don’t finish a novel?  Unless you have a contract with a due date, nothing will happen.  So, how do writers overcome this lack of a threat and finish things?  We hold each other accountable.

In the beginning, I didn’t really understand how holding each other accountable would work.  After all, if I don’t push myself to finish something, why would someone judging me for it be motivational?  Turns out that guilt is a powerful tool.  If I set reasonable goals with people and don’t reach them, I feel guilty.  I don’t care if the end of the world pops up, if people know I planned on doing things and failed, it sucks.  It also helps that I’m mildly competitive, so failure and losing are not an option.  I won’t be the only one to not meet my goals.

httvk
Mixed signals achieved.

 According to people I’ve done this whole accountability thing with, it also works by legitimizing their craft, especially when they have jobs.  They have trouble taking time out of their schedules to write because they feel like it shouldn’t be a priority even when they secretly (or not so secretly) want it to be.  Having someone who will pester them and encourage them gives them an “excuse” to make time for writing.

calvinwriting
You can’t keep waiting when there’s no last minute.

 So, even when deadlines aren’t an option, we can still motivate each other by holding each other accountable.  We might not receive any real negative consequences if we don’t meet our goals, but we’ll have to live with the shame of disappointing our friends.  Who has time for that?

Do you have any friends who pester you about your creative outlet?  Does accountability work for you?  How?  If not, what do you do to stay productive and motivated?  Leave a comment here or on my social media pages to share your thoughts!

Until next week!

A Day Of Art

Hello, hello!  Last week, my friend Marika invited Dad and I to go to the Dallas Museum of Art with her and the munchkins.  I’ve lived roughly half an hour away from this museum all my life and can only think of two other times I’ve been there, so we decided to go with them.  We spent the afternoon wandering around some of the exhibits.  Dad kept getting too close to the fancy furniture, so the staff kept a wary eye on him.  We got huffed at for allowing one of the munchkins to touch a sculpture (to be fair, it was outside and looked like a fancy garbage can, so yeah).  We also got to talk Masterpieces and Stephen King with the guy in the gift shop.  All around, it was a nice day away from actually writing (and yes, I’ve been a good little writer with meeting my word count lately).  Sometimes, getting away from your own artform and exploring others is healthy.

13895025_1191441057543293_4318436982796614638_n
And sometimes, it’s just weird.  All pictures courtesy of Marika.

 I’ve always liked art anyway, so it’s not hard to imagine me finding plenty of inspiration in a museum.  But I admit that I was a little surprised by just how much inspiration I came away with.  For instance, the  Irving Penn exhibit (open until August 14) had a few images that are still stuck in my brain almost a week later.  One of them, which I don’t have a picture of, was an eye in a keyhole that had a keyhole reflected in the eye, kind of like a tunnel effect.  I don’t know why it’s stuck with me, or if it’ll cause a story to blossom, but it gave me something to think about.

Aside from inspiring the writer in me, I was also tempted to draw again.  There was quite a bit of abstract work that was interesting, as well as some things that looked like they were drawn by a three year old (not my cup of tea).  But, it was actually the furniture on the fourth floor that really made me go “Ooo, I could do that.”  Meaning that I could draw similar patterns, not that I could build anything.  I’ll leave the woodwork up to Dad.

13882103_1191440887543310_2879147841082910548_n
I could definitely draw a swirly design like this.

 Then, there were all the things that weren’t exactly inspiring, but they were simply beautiful.  Not everything has to make you think or make you want to create.  Sometimes, we just need some eye candy.  On the second floor near the room where you can see one of the restoration areas, there was the Wittgenstein Vitrine (a fancy display case the DMA restored).  It’s a really ornate box decorated with silver and pearls and opals and moonstones, etc.  But I wouldn’t even know what to display in it, let alone what to write or draw about it.  It does nothing for me except sit there and look pretty, and that’s okay.  We need that just as much as we need the inspirational things.

13876274_1191441050876627_7943533065143473555_n
A corner of the Vitrine.

 So, what is this post all about aside from me telling you about my day at the museum?  Nothing, really.  I’m just saying that it’s okay to take a day off once in a while to explore creative outlets outside of your norm.  Put down the pen or step away from the keyboard and go explore a museum or go to the symphony or whatever.  It might help you recharge, and you could have fun in the process.  I know I did.

Changing of the Seasons: A Flash Fiction Piece

Hello, hello!  I didn’t really have anything to blog about today, so someone suggested that I post a flash piece inspired by the pictures I post on Mondays (follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or G+ to see the posts).  I decided what the hell, I’ll try it.  I picked a picture and wrote the following piece.  It’s a first draft, unedited, so keep that in mind.  I will admit that I like the idea, but I’m not sure that flash is the right format for it.  Maybe a short story?  Feel free to offer constructive criticism and feedback.  What format do you think would work best?  Advice.  Or just a quick “it sucks/rocks” works too.

11204016_839188969469365_7654394586329462149_n
Photographer: Peter Brownz Braunschmid

Changing of the Seasons

Autumn leaves swirl and twirl on a breeze tinted with the scent of blood. The lifeline of thousands seeps through the soil, bathing and nourishing me as it beckons for my awakening. They pray to me, the mothers and daughters and sisters of those lost at war. Why me? Because only a woman will understand their suffering. The men pray to Him for victory, for the ability to rule, no matter the cost. But the women, they simply ask for peace. They don’t realize how peace is achieved, they don’t know what they’re truly asking for. Still, I will soon be able to grant their wish.

Once every five thousand years, as the ground becomes inundated with spilt blood, I will inevitably rise from the roots of the Mother Tree as Fall passes into Winter. The changing of the seasons allows my release, for I cannot be freed while the Mother Tree lives. Their blood slowly poisons her until she can no longer survive the first freeze. I bide my time, soaking in the nutrients they provide while the tendrils that bind my wrists slowly weaken, becoming as brittle as the dead leaves clinging to the Mother Tree’s branches.

The days pass as if each second has morphed into an hour, but it is almost time for me to rise. To bring peace back to this chaotic world. Their cries grow ever stronger. Peace. Victory. Whichever will put an end to the suffering.

Fear not, my little loves. A new day is coming. I have heard you.

Finally, a twist of the wrist shatters my shackles. Fingers pale as sun-bleached bone are free to break through the slush of soil and blood and ice crystals. The air up here is thick with a metallic, rotten scent. The frigid temperatures haven’t had time to wash away the aroma of death. It’s invigorating. Mixed with the pleas for help, some might call it downright orgasmic.

I know what I have to do.

Near the Mother Tree is a spring. I must bottle the icy water as the full moon strikes it. I will take this gift to the children of the nearest town. Once they drink of it, a deep sleep will overcome and protect them. Then, I will feed. First, the women, unprotected in the fields and the shops. The children unaffected by the elixir will come next. Lastly, those on the battlefield. I will rid the entire world of the agony perpetrated by humanity.

Once the world has been purged of this plague, I will return to the slumbering children. They will awaken and I will raise them as my own. I will teach them compassion and respect and compromise. Peace and love will reign for many years to come.

And when they no longer need my assistance to survive, I will dig my toes deep into the ground on a pleasant Spring evening on the edge of town, where I will transform into the Mother Tree. My branches will reach out to protect my children even as future generations forget my teachings. As they inevitably devolve into a world of bloodshed once again. All the while, the mothers and sisters and daughters will pray for peace, which my next incarnation, growing among my roots, will provide.

An Art & Words Show

Hi all!  This past Saturday (Sept. 26th), my dad and I ventured out to Fort Worth to attend the opening of Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s Art & Words Show.  It was the fourth annual show and the third year that I have attended, so I decided that I wanted to share my experience with all of you.

043
Bonnie reading for one of the authors who couldn’t be there.

I met Bonnie at Stonecoast.  She graduated in July 2013, so we didn’t have much time to get to know each other very well, but she was the first fellow Texan I found in the program.  When I learned about her Art & Words Show, I had to check it out.  What is an Art & Words Show, you ask?  Well, Bonnie takes submissions from both writers and visual artists (submissions usually open around March if you’re interested), then she chooses roughly 10 written pieces and an equal number of artworks.  At that point, there’s a selection process where the writers choose a piece of art and the artists choose a story or poem, which they then have to interpret (authors write a story/poem based on the art and vice versa for the artists).

Where is the show held, you might be wondering.  It’s held at Art on the Boulevard in Fort Worth on Camp Bowie Blvd (check the website for the full address).  The show runs for about a week, so if you’re in the area and have some free time between now and Saturday (Oct. 3rd), check it out!

11160623_968687293154939_2336343179193231458_o
Borrowed from their Facebook page.

As someone who loves ekphrastic writing, this whole project intrigued me from the beginning.  I haven’t had a piece featured yet, but I have submitted in the past and plan to submit next year.  It’s like any other project writers submit to, there’s a good chance of rejection, but you have to try.  I actually didn’t have anything to submit this past year, so I volunteered to work behind the scenes (yes, I was a slush reader).  It actually gave me a little perspective on the whole rejection thing.  Narrowing down the submissions (most of which were really good), not to mention picking just 10, is quite a task.  If you ever get the chance to be a slush reader for anything, do it.  It gives you a new appreciation for rejection.

029
Sean R. Robinson reading.
040
Karen Bovenmyer reading.

Anyway, on opening night, Bonnie holds a small reception where she invites the writers to read.  A lot of the local artists tend to show up as well.  It’s a lovely experience.  My only complaint is the lack of accessibility (there are no curb cuts or ramps near the place and there are steps between the nearest ramp and the shop), which I fully blame the city of Fort Worth for.  For a place that’s commonly on top 10 lists for accommodations and accessibility, I expected more.  Step up your game, Fort Worth!  Aside from my issues with the location, the show itself is wonderful and I fully encourage both writers and visual artists to submit next year.

Until next time (which will finally be a food review)!

Let the Colors Shine

Hello once again!  Recently, a friend of mine released an adult coloring book (Enigmatic Mind, Vol. 1 by Shiraishi Art).  I totally encourage you to purchase it and a set of markers or colored pencils, and get to coloring!  Aside from making me want to shamelessly promote a wonderful artist, the release of this book got me thinking about other facets of my creative side (yes, I occasionally do more than write).  I used to cross-stitch, draw, paint, color, and do all kinds of artsy craftsy things before my hands decided to be evil and lose a lot of their range of motion.  It was all very relaxing.  So, I’ve decided to dedicate today’s post to alternative  passions, namely coloring and drawing.

Fishing
“Fishing” (Acrylic, 38¼” x 31”) by 6-year-old me for MDA.

When I was younger, I used to do a lot of paintings for MDA.  They used them to make gifts and thank yous for big donors and stuff like that.  But as I got older and my hands started screwing up, my mom started helping (read as: started doing most of the work).  I still draw sometimes, but if it’s anything more complicated than my usual flower design, I use my tablet (do they even call them that anymore, what with all these half-phone/half-computer tablet things?).  I haven’t even done that in a while since I’m too lazy to ask anyone to hook it up to my computer.  Honestly, the only reasons I draw anymore are either to design clothes or because I want to color.

Lunar
A gift I made for a friend. It says Lunar with Cyn below it (our nicknames).

One of my favorite types of drawing has always been to scribble random lines and color in the spaces between them.  It requires zero talent and gets you into the coloring portion of drawing pretty quickly (which is why I enjoy it so much).  Granted, my earlier pieces were simplistic and boring, but as I kept trying to make them more interesting, I discovered shading and even started hiding messages in them.  The piece above is one of my favorites.

On the rare occasion that I do try to draw people, I tend to focus on the clothes (I suck at faces and hair and hands and things), I always have.  Even then, I start with a line and work my way out from there with the end goal of being able to color.  No idea why.  I think it’s mostly because of that random love of designing clothes that I mentioned (I don’t usually wear fancy things, but it’s fun to imagine them).

Random Pose
Something drawn out of boredom. The dress is an oddly simple design.

It is an oddly refreshing experience to control something down to its very color.  You control the light, the texture, everything.  It’s very much like writing in that way, only more visual.  A lot of people equate creativity with freedom, but for me, it’s more about control.  I have complete control over the worlds I create, whether writing or drawing.  It’s kind of a relief when compared to living in the real world.

Inspiration Time!

Hi all!  It’s been another week.  If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, you know that I randomly post inspirational images (like inspiration for stories, not those motivational posters).  Recently, I’ve had some people who were interested in how I find these images, why them and not others, etc.  Today, I guess we’ll talk about art!  Or ekphrastic writing (no, it’s not limited to poetry) at least.

11794602_882993428422252_886712451765386778_o
“Pagan Poetry: The Devourer” — Photographer: Kay Klages Model: Felipe García

Lately, I’ve found most of the pictures I share (as well as the ones here) on Dark Beauty Magazine’s Facebook page.  One reason I gravitate towards them lately is because of all of the credits they provide (often with links), so if I find a particular artist or model I enjoy, I can follow them.  I like places that give credit where credit is due.  Not to mention that it frustrates me to no end when I want to find a particular artist, but no one seems to know their name.  Other places I find art include DeviantArt, a lot of the pictures of models or bands I like, artist websites (Nene Thomas for example), and random Google searches.  If you had asked me ten years ago where to find art, I could’ve listed at least fifty sites without effort, but I suppose I’ve become more selective as I grew up (or just too lazy to keep track of so many things).

As far as why I choose certain images, I honestly don’t know.  Something about them speaks to me.  The one above, contrary to popular opinion, attracted me because of the blood, not the very lovely man (he’s a bonus).  I enjoy dark themes, so I lean toward creepier artworks.  I tend to prefer night to day, black and white or muted colors to vivid ones, water and fire to earth and wind, things like that.  Granted, there are exceptions, and keep in mind that these preferences refer to images that inspire me to write.

11403383_864922466896015_7584895949992164359_n
Photographer: Johann Kopf Makeup/Model: Tina Lakos

On the other hand, some images simply tell their own stories.  You can’t look at them without formulating a tale leading to that particular moment captured by the camera (or the brush), or what you imagine is going to happen from that point in time on.  You’re story will probably be different from mine, but a story will be conjured nonetheless.

Take the Johann Kopf picture for instance.  My first thought upon seeing it was “what post-apocalyptic hell is this?,” but the more I look at it, the more ideas I get.  Is it post-apocalyptic or is it an alien planet?  What’s with the axe?  Are the doggies going to survive?  And then my brain has to answer all of those questions.  It’s the same thing for less chatty images (ones that intrigue, but don’t give you much of an outright story to work with), like the one below.  The questions just start flowing.  Who is she?  Why is she in an alley?  Is it an alley or is it a portal to another world?  And on and on and on…

11742673_868721543182774_5118565906848926820_n
Photographer: Digital Art by Rachid de Wind Model: Queenie Constancia

I suppose what all this means is that I really don’t know why I pick certain pictures over others.  It’s not that other images don’t speak to me (I can come up with a story for just about anything if I try), they just speak louder than the rest.  I try to post things that my followers might respond to, so I choose from a wide variety of styles in case some of you don’t find something particularly inspirational.  Then again, maybe I’m just weird.

Knowing when to Stop and Breathe

Hi everyone!  So, I’m not really the best person to talk about stopping and smelling the roses, mostly because I’ve never been really good at that when I have specific goals to achieve.  In fact, if I have goals, chances are that nothing else in the world will exist for me, especially roses.  But when that happens, I have a tendency to burn myself out and end up overcompensating in the other direction (a.k.a. goals suck, let’s just veg in front of Netflix forever).  It’s an annoying balancing act that I can never really get… well, balanced.

Rose1
I traced a photo of a rose, then colored it in Photoshop a long time ago.

Is this a common problem among writers?  Honestly, I don’t know.  A lot of the people I talk to seem to have more problems meeting goals rather than being obsessed with them, so of course I feel like the odd man (woman?) out.  I guess my biggest problem is knowing when to let goals slide.  Granted, I’m more apt to look at my list of goals and push reading off to make time for writing, but it makes me feel super guilty.  I also push the things on my list that are for other people higher than things like my word count.  I can always make up my word count tomorrow, right?  Like that ever happens.  It actually usually means not taking that second day off.  *eye-twitch*

And, of course, when I do find a nice balance, I have to start changing things.  I recently decided to try upping my word count from 900 words five days a week to 1500 words.  Throw some new obligations on top of that, and I end up spending all my time doing everything except having a life.  It got a little rough this past week, which is what brought on this ramble.

Weirdness
A random thing I made a long time ago. I like structure.

I needed to stop and take a breath, which I did.  I’ve proven to myself that, under normal circumstances, I can do 1500 words five days a week with no problem.  Right now, I can’t.  As much as it ticks me off to say that, I just can’t do 1500 words AND everything else I need to do AND have time to relax.  It’s impossible.  Thus, my new plan for balance!

I will continue with the new obligations for as long as they last (three to six months at the moment), because I made a promise, I enjoy what I’m doing, and I’m gaining a lot of experience should I decide to teach at some point in the future.  That’s my first priority.  Second, instead of worrying about words for a while, I’m going to work on revising my first novel again (surprisingly not as time consuming or stressful as writing all the words!).  When I do get back to writing toward a word count, I’ve decided 1000 words are good enough until I have fewer things to worry about.  And apparently I have to add a goal to my list that boils down to “have fun away from the computer, or  GO OUTSIDE, IDIOT!”

Boredom1
I should probably add “draw something” to that list.

It’s not an easy thing to achieve, but balance is necessary.  We can’t always focus on work (that’s a fast-track to insanity), just like we can’t always focus on fun (unless you’re a billionaire, then yeah).  Remember to stop and take a breath, or smell the roses, or whatever.  Just don’t kill yourself to achieve all the things on a list that doesn’t account for spontaneous interruptions or miscalculated times (we all have those things we say will take half an hour, then three hours later it’s still not done).  Take some time and go outside!  Or whatever.

The Writing Space of Doom!

Howdy, howdy!  Happy (almost) Fourth of July to all of my American peoples!  Also, happy Canada day to all of my Canadian friends!  If I’m missing any other holidays being celebrated this week, let me know.  Anyway,  today I wanted to share my writing space (more commonly known as my bedroom) with you.  I haven’t done that yet, right?  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.  Not really.  But do be prepared for extra pictures!

025
My desk and armoires, built by Dad (he installed the floor, too)! That’s where the writing happens.

Not sure if I’d call it magic, but this is where it happens!  It’s a very busy space, I know, but I like it that way.  I don’t understand how people can get anything creative done when surrounded by white walls and an empty desk.  That’s so boring to me.  I really like the fact that everywhere I look, there’s some kind of inspiration.  And mirrors!  I can’t turn my head without moving my whole chair, so my mirrors let me see all around me at once.  If I want to stare out of the window, there’s a mirror for that!  Want to check my door to make sure no one’s sneaking up on me?  Mirror!  Okay, maybe I’m just lazy.

024
Better view of the beer signs (they’re Dad’s, but they look better in my room), and my stuffed animals.

The best part about being able to glance up at all of these knickknacks and things is that each one has a number of stories to tell.  There’s the story of how I received each one (and I fully admit many of those tales are long forgotten), the story each one immediately brings to mind, and all of the stories they inspire or take part in after hours of staring at them.  And, of course, sometimes they’re stubborn and won’t give me any ideas to work with.

That’s my basic writing area.  It’s where I’m facing 90% of the time when I’m doing writerly things.  However, I do get stuck.  Some days, nothing in that little corner helps me.  What do I do then?  Well, I stop relying on the mirrors, and I turn around.  What?  You think my desk is the only interesting part of my room?  You’re funny.

020
My doorway. It’s been redecorated a bit, but you get the gist.

Posters, pictures, weapons, musical paraphernalia (up above the door).  Ignore the nightstand.  Dad hasn’t gotten around to making one of those, yet.  But anyway, you can see how nowhere in my room is boring.  I keep myself immersed in stories.  Is that what a writer does?  Oh, and if you’re noticing a severe lack of books, that’s because the spare room doubles as a library, so they’re all in there.

Up last, is the actual bed area.  Definitely no magic going on there, but there’s even a lot of inspiration there, too.

026
The tree Dad painted above my bed!
027
Okay. Now, I might just be showing off Dad’s skill.

So, that’s my writing space!  What’s your workspace like?  Are you like me, where you enjoy a ton of stimuli?  Or do you prefer more of a blank canvas kind of space?  Maybe you’re in between?  Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook, or Twitter, or G+!

Inspiration! Does It Strike You?

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.

InspirationI’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.

cosplay-family-guy-sailor-moon-costume_jpg-demotivational-poster
There are, not they are. Yes, I correct grammar on the Interwebz.

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!

Hand with Reflecting Sphere
M. C. Escher

 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!