This Is How To Keep Inspiration Crackling
In my first blog post, I promised to share what it is like to be a debut author and how I was to remain determined to honor the creative process and to no longer live by default. Now here I am, just over two months from the release of my novel, LITTLE LOVELY THINGS, (April 2nd!), and I’m up to my ears in all the preparations for launch.
I had no idea how much work and more importantly how time-consuming this would be. I am not complaining, I love every minute but it has certainly challenged my commitment to writing on a daily basis, and I feel my creative spirit slipping a little bit. It doesn’t help that we are now in the middle of post-holiday winter, short on daylight, when the crackle of inspiration can easily dull into a soft thud.
If you’re like me, I need to fight against over-indulging in comfort food and auto-piloting back into old entrenched habits. It’s time for a jiggle or two in my daily routine to feel stimulated again.
Have you ever seen a cat’s face when it is being brushed tail to head? Pissed. But, after, I bet that beast enjoyed the new sensation all over its body. I think it’s important to become a cat that has been stroked the wrong way. No, this doesn’t require drastic measure. Something as simple as reading a different genre of book or watching a new type of programming on TV can jostle your stupor enough to make you take notice.
Here’s one I find particularly fun:
Change the fonts in your documents or emails. This sounds silly but has an amazing effect on how you view your writing – you will ‘hear’ yourself differently if you see it anew. I use Comic Sans MS – which incites a giggle or two when I’m typing because words the on my screen look to me as if they are in their jammies.
Fish, (remember, you are a cat!) through your closet. Place a pair of jeans you never wear and set them next to your favorite sweater. Or do the reverse. Then find something from your summer or spring wardrobe like a scarf or belt and wear them together for a seasonal toss-up.
Let your imagination be stimulated through your senses. Try listening to classical or even spa music on the radio instead of rock or techno. Close your eyes (only if you’re not driving!) What sense of place does this new music evoke? If it is the interior of a house or a landscape, add some detail – decorate the rooms, put that landscape in a season.
The next time you are in your kitchen, muddle through the spice cupboard and choose a can or jar at random. Without looking at the label, unscrew the top and take a whiff. Can you identify it immediately? What does it call to mind? Allow yourself to be momentarily stolen away – maybe to someplace exotic like a curry stall – or to your childhood breakfast table enfolded in the comforting aroma of cinnamon toast.
Look For Inspiration in Patterns
Are you familiar with the Fibonacci sequence? You should be! It’s a cool pattern of numbers where each one is the sum of the two preceding it, like this: 0 and 1: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 . . . Why care? Because it has an amazing connection to the natural world, the examples of which are beautiful and require our attention (plus Fibonacci is a great word to impress your friends with).
That familiar flat face of a sunflower is really made up of a gazillion little florets that spiral from the center outward. Same with shells, galaxies, and even hurricanes – they’re all following this amazing design.
One of my favorite ways to stir creativity is the Giant Sticky Challenge.
My Inspiration Challenge For YOU
Go to your local office supply chain store. They sell those neon sticky notes we are all familiar with, but in an enormous size. We‘re talking 6×6 inch sheets. Toss a pack of those into your cart and then grab a box of fun markers.
While you are in line waiting to pay, toss in a pack of bubble gum. Stick at least two or three pieces into your mouth (c’mon, you know you can), just like you did when you were a kid, and chomp like crazy. Does it bring back that juicy bulbous feeling and the perfect rubber-eraser-y taste that you enjoyed so much when you were young?
Once you get home, place a sticky on the door of your bedroom, or your hall closet or even better on a kitchen cupboard – anywhere visually obvious. It’s only for a week. Like their smaller relatives, the giant sticky’s are harmless and come down without a mark.
Now seize those markers and sprinkle them haphazardly in your normal path of activity and near places you sit. You will be tempted to arrange them neatly. Don’t do it. Tolerating that messiness is like having a mosquito bite-type itch smack in the middle of your comfort zone. Which is you are going for, remember? Do not pick them up until you resolve to write something, draw something, or mark your giant sticky up like a cat on catnip.
As you maneuver through your week, capture little things in your daily life that inspire you; a snippet of a poem, an over-the-top recipe, a glossy magazine picture of your dream vacation spot. Tape these things onto your giant sticky…how about the secret name you wish you had been called instead of your own? Or if you love your name – scribble it boldly in the brightest color.
Once your sticky is full, snap a picture before pulling it down. Later, when you have a minute, spend some time examining that image. Do you see any patterns? What emotions if any, are conjured in reaction to your choices? You might be surprised by what this reveals about you.
I would love to hear about your experience with one of these activities. Have any of them jiggled you from being on autopilot or spurred your creativity in any way?
Even better, do you have any thoughts/ideas that you can adapt to keep your inspiration crackling? Please share below!
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