Posts tagged ‘inspiration’

August 30th, 2010

Doors and Windows and Ventilation Shafts

by Madeleine Rex

We all know that quote of Alexander Graham Bell’s that has become more of a cliche than a source of inspiration:

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.

Oh, yeah, Maddy’s going to use that overused quote again. Don’t run away.

I really did feel a sudden urge to write about this, and feel the urge even more after reading this Guest Post on Pimp My Novel about envy.

Madeleine’s message? It might not be a door that opens, but a window. Or a ventilation shaft. Either way, if you try hard enough and face your overwhelming claustrophobia and sock it in the face, you can make it through to the other side. Take advantage of opportunity, no matter how small. Even if it’s so small that your shoulders get stuck every four squirms.

(And I’m claustrophobic, so you really should take this post seriously.)

When a friend goes through a door and slams it in your face, take the ventilation shaft that’s suddenly appeared to your right. Start wriggling.

Take advantage of every inch you can move forward, because progress is progress. Every bit of leverage and every opportunity presented to you is a gift. Not grabbing it and hugging it to yourself is the same as returning it unopened right to the gift-giver. Aka, rude.

I encourage you to face claustrophobia (any opposition), work through it (ignore it), and make it to the other side (progress).

Because even ventilation shafts lead to something new – something you can’t see from the other side, but must trust is there.

Psst! Tell me what you want to see in my blogiversary giveaway! – Help Me Help You

February 28th, 2010

That Elusive Inspiration.

by Madeleine Rex

“We seek him here, we seek him there
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere!
Is he in heaven? Or is he in hell?
That demmed Elusive Pimpernel?”

Aw, “The Scarlet Pimpernel”… a classic. I love that movie.

Anyway, the poem above is one that I have said over and over again in my head. I told my parents that I wanted a recording of the delivery of that poem from the movie, so that I could play it on a whim. And when I began mulling over the topic of “inspiration”, the last line of the poem came immediately to mind. Unfortunately, the word “inspiration” has too many syllables to fit well, but I’m going to insert it anyway:

“We seek it here, we seek it there
Those writers seek it everywhere!
Is it in heaven? Or is it in hell?
That demmed Elusive Inspiration?”

Yeah, it sounds awkward, but you get the extremely evident point. This thing we call inspiration, what is it, where is it, what does it entail? Why the heck are we so obsessed with finding it?

The search for inspiration seems synonymous with trying to catch and examine thin air, until your belief system, the one that calls inspiration “magic”, is shaken and destroyed in that glorious moment of ecstasy. You’re inspired! Slowly, the light-headed excitement wears off a bit and you’re left wondering what hit you. You try to untangle the thoughts and actions that had led to that moment of pure (what’s it called again?…) inspiration. You’re absolutely certain you brought it about despite the fact that you can’t remember how and have failed countless times before. Heck, you might even feel a bit smug.

We all have our own ways of evoking inspiration, of tempting it to emerge from the shadows it lurks in. It’s a necessity for anyone looking to do something in a creative niche. We’re all human, and we have our ways of supplying ourselves with the necessities of our nature and life.

I, for example, am one of those people who can force themselves by intensive thought and questioning to feel inspired. I can sit down and squeeze an inspired, exciting idea out through my ears. Often I have to ask others for help in order to answer my questions myself. I find that in many areas of my life, stating things aloud, or simply to someone else, helps me to reassess what I mean, problem solve, or convince myself of something/to do something. I’m always telling people what I intend to do with my day in an exact order, while my mom would rather scribble everything down on her calendar. I can talk with my cousin on the phone and say something brilliant, inspiring, and then I hang up to write it down while she laughs.

Some find inspiration in photographs (check out Regan Leigh’s awesome contest… here.), some in their surroundings, some in quotes, some in colors. Inspiration is everywhere, but very difficult to see. Our inspiration vision tends to be around 20/5000. We need to wear ridiculously thick bifocals and squint till the people around us wonder where our eyes went, but then… there it is! You’re inspired. You can sit down and right effortlessly, if only for a moment.

I’m not saying we’re confined to one way of finding inspiration. We can be surprised by what sparks our creative fire and sends us on a writing rampage. I do believe, however, that there are particular ways that are especially effective to us individually.

What ways have you found to lure inspiration from its cubby-hole in the rocks?

EDIT: Nathan Bransford has posted a boldly honest post that is truly brilliant: The Greatest Strength of a Writer: Willpower – notice it’s not inspiration? Yeah – that’s because we can’t count on it. Keep that in mind!