Day 291. Finding Inspiration

Yesterday I wrote about the goal I set for myself when I started this blog. The author of Book Peeps, a WordPress blog I follow, commented. When I responded to lighteningher comment, I talked about how my career in advertising, an industry where ‘ideas’ are what we sell, has taught me how to find inspiration.

She then wrote back, suggesting I make that the subject of another blog post. Here it is.

It’s interesting. Whenever I tell anyone I blog each and every day I get the same reaction. “I wish I had your discipline”, is one. And the other is, “I don’t know where you get all those ideas”.

Obviously there’s nothing I can say or do to make you, or anyone else, a disciplined writer. It’s something you have to do for yourself. You either are, or you aren’t. My contention is, you have to want to do it. Whether it’s

working out regularly, not eating junk food, saving money or writing every day, it will not happen unless we, ourselves, make it happen. There are sacrifices involved. It’s hard work. You must be committed to the task. Determined.

Yes, disciplined.

So there’s no point in my banging on about it. If you want to make it happen, you can. You will. End of story.

Finding inspiration, finding ideas, that’s a whole other story.

Sometimes I think we try too hard. We want to be hit over the head with an idea. Zapped. Jolted. Almost like a lightening bolt. We want the earth to move. In other words, if we’re not shaken by it, we haven’t had one. Sort of like an orgasm.

We become so uptight, so obsessed, so crazed, so tightly wound, we CAN’T have one. An idea or an orgasm.

And we end up missing what’s right under our noses.

This story is a perfect example of what I mean. A comment made by a fellow blogger provided the inspiration for this blog post. It was right there in front of me. But in order to SEE it, or for any of us to see all the possibilities in front of us, we have to be present.

By that I mean living with our eyes wide open. And also our ears.

Because it didn’t hit me like a ton of bricks. It was more like, “Hmmmm, that’s an interesting idea. That’s what I’m going to blog about tomorrow.” I made a few notes and went on with the rest of my day. Didn’t even break a sweat.

There. Now you know my secret. I find inspiration everywhere.

In other blogs. In books. On television. At the movies. At the theatre. In the lyrics of a song. In the grocery store. On the subway. In the elevator. On the escalator. In the park. At the post office. At the airport. At the dry cleaners. At restaurants. At coffee shops. On the news. While I’m shopping. While I’m waiting in line. When I’m online.

I may see an object that triggers a thought or a memory.

I may watch a couple walking down the street arm in arm, laughing, talking to each other, stopping occasionally for a kiss; and I imagine where they’ve come from and where they’re going and how long they’ve known each other and how long they’ll be together. Or how love feels to me.

I may overhear a group of co-workers gossiping about a colleague they don’t like; and I’m reminded about how much I always disliked office politics.

I may taste something that takes me back to when I was a child.

I may be so taken with the scent of a new perfume, I just have to try to describe it; and how it makes me feel; and how people react when I wear it.

I may have had a fight with a boyfriend or a family member or a neighbour or a friend or a colleague; and just need to get it off my chest.

I may want to share good news.

I may be simply have had a conversation with a friend, who said something that sparked an idea.

The point is, every day, ordinary occurrences are all we need to get us started. Anything and everything you see, hear, read, watch, taste, smell, observe and experience can provide enough material to write a new blog three times a day, every day. There’s a story in what you do, where you go, who you know, what you do for a living, your family, your friends, your pets, your vacations and business trips and on and on it goes.

Just make sure your radar is always on. And in good working order.

20 thoughts on “Day 291. Finding Inspiration

  1. Ah discipline! Not always seeking the big “boom”. And remembering inspiration is everywhere if you’ll only stop for a moment to write that trigger down. Thank you for the reminders–will be helpful as I reset/refuel this weekend.

    • Ahhh. That’s an interesting point you make. Now that I think about it, I do sort if work the actual story out in my head before I sit at the computer. Try a couple of different angles or viewpoints. I’ve never really thought about it before.

  2. You make good points. I would also say WRITE THEM DOWN! I always have a list of things that inspire me as back up but I typically write about something that JUST happened. The other is that in going for that wild orgasm…oops…post, sometimes what you think is borderline ok gets high likes and comments. I’m not saying put crap out there but you can never figure out what is going to be most popular! I don’t post everyday but that’s not my goal. I do post routinely because that’s discipline.

    • Writing them down is a GREAT idea. Life takes over in a nano second and you forget you ever had the idea. Happens to me ALL the time. Just like the orange juice I still haven’t bought even though I went to the grocery store for it 3 different times :).

  3. Thanks Fransi. I’ve been guilty of waiting for that inspirational idea firecracker to go off when, as you say every day moments can be the best source of inspiration for writing. As always, you have once again, nailed it!

  4. So I came looking for your latest post to share some inspiration and Voila! I find you already writing about it. It is Saturday morning here in France and I am catching up on posts and reading the Guardian online and I find a wonderful article about a man who had a one year project, a daily date with a tree and I said to myself, it’s Franci’s alter ego and wondered in relation to your post yesterday, about how challenging it must have been to fulfill this challenge and get up and go and lie out there to fulfill this 365 day challenge.

    Do visit the link and then check out the amazing small collection of 25 photos he shares. I just hope he didn’t forget to hug that tree, what a gift it has given him!

    I’m renaming his project ‘What a Tree Taught Me’. 🙂

    • Thank you SO much for sending this link. I LOVE the story and the photos are amazing. It is so wonderful and inspiring to see how this challenge has made the photographer look at a tree differently. There’s a huge life lesson here. I am going to order the book. It is funny, you know, months ago I had the idea to publish my blog when the 365 days are up. Then I sort of abandoned the idea. But this has inspired me to think about it again. I just love is idea and his photographs. Thanks again. I just want to keep giving myself more year-ling challenges now.

      • Isn’t it a wonderful story, I wonder if he developed a love-hate relationship with the tree or if it was all good, it’s almost like a meditation project or a silent retreat, one has the impression that there would be days of bordering on madness. Trees are amazing, the sheer volume and weight of water they haul every day to the outer reaches of branches to feed all those thirsty leaves makes us realise their strength and power.

        I loved your use of year-ling and read it as intentional, coming from a farm, I know a yearling is the word for a one year old animal, or in it’s second year, but not yet 2. So entirely appropriate and a wonderful metaphor you used 🙂

      • I just loved it. And you’re so right. it is like a meditation project. I wondered the same thing about a possible love-hate relationship. I would think there might have been days he just dragged himself out there. Glad you liked my typo. It does kinda work, doesn’t it 🙂

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