What Inspires You?

Written: Bedroom, late night

The whole focus of this blog is writing inspiration. So let’s get down to it. What inspires you? There are all kinds of things that can inspire your writing. Everything from people you know to experiences you have can provide material for your writing. One thing that I find inspiring are images. At my previous job as a writing center director, I had a bulletin board in my office that I called my “Inspiration Board.” It included images and quotes that I found inspiring and hoped would inspire the writing of others.

Inspiration boards aren’t a unique idea. Lot’s of creative people use inspiration or mood boards to get their juices flowing. So I thought I’d share some images I found on the Internet that I’ll be putting up on my new inspiration board.

I live in the mountains, so I related to the picture above. I’m not necessarily a big outdoorsy person, but I’ve always found that nature evokes creative ideas. I once went on an amazing writing retreat in South Dakota’s Black Hills that involved hiking on different trails and taking time to write whatever we wanted. I did an in-depth study of the main character of the novel I’ve been working on at that retreat.

I love the dichotomy of this image. The living machine carrying a leaf. I loved the movie Wall-E, and its environmental message, so this photo appealed to me. It also makes me think about how writing gets crunched down, edited, and put out into the world, just like the garbage gets compacted and spit out by Wall-E.

I’ve been fortunate enough to see both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, and I find a lot of peace when I’m near water. The motion and sound of the waves makes me want to contemplate bigger issues in life and to try to quantify those issues in writing.

To me, this picture evokes a feeling of freedom. My son and daughter are in their late teens now, but this reminds me of when they were younger, living out on five acres in Western Kansas, exploring and playing. They climbed trees, caught frogs, rode their bikes up and down the path we had, and came up with games that had ever changing rules. Their imaginations ran wild, and when I see this it reminds me that my own imagination is unlimited.

So, where do you find your inspiration? When you hit a creative wall, try searching the Internet for inspiring images and quotes. Consider creating your own mood or inspiration board that brings out the best in your creative life. It may include art, industrial images, poetry, or just combinations of color. Whatever taps into your imagination and gets you in a mindset to open up with your writing and express those thoughts that are usually trapped in your head.

There are no limits with inspiration. Sometimes words just come to you, but most of the time something you see, hear, or experience leads your brain to release the words in your head to the world. Experiment with what inspires you and try gathering representations of those things together. You’ll find that it enhances your writing experience. So go out and get inspired!