Motivational Monday: Finding inspiration

There are times when the words flow forward, a strong unstoppable current that carries anything in its path. Then there are other times when the words come in a trickle, a slow moving stream, jammed with pebbles in some spots and boulders in others. And every once in a while, the flow becomes stagnant–whether because of life circumstances or because you’re simply drained from working too much.

This is such a natural part of the process! Frustrating, yes, but normal. Just recently, I had to stop working on my WIP for a while. The words were drying up, not because they weren’t there but because my body was going through a rough patch. Not only was I flaring with the lupus and fibro, but I’d developed tendonitis in my shoulder, severe spasms in my cervical area, and my wrists were swollen. Talk about getting creativity sucked out of you!

So how do you find motivation when the words just won’t come? When you’ve dried up from the inside?

You find inspiration somewhere else. All you need is a spark–a hearty, healthy spark–to trigger one creative endeavor. Imagine a dam of twigs. The spark loosens a small hole that lets some water in, a trickle. Then that trickle grows and widens so it’s a stream. The process continues, trickle, stream, until there’s so much pressure the dam breaks and a torrent of water pours over the wreckage, burying it.

Inspiration and motivation work this way. I’ve held hard and fast to this idea for a while now, and it helps every single time. Here are some things I’ll do to help myself heal and bring the power on.

  1. I read. Think of reading and a fountain filled with new words, phrases, and ideas. When you’re feeling depleted of words, reading will renew you. I love to imagine that as I read, the words from the book I’m reading seep into my pores, satiating me. And in doing so, satisfying a deep thirst. Not only do ideas beget ideas, but words beget words. It’s such a beautiful thing. Sometimes, I only have to read one book to feel replenished. Other times I have to read more. But every time, it works.
  2. I change activities. Instead of pushing myself even harder when I’m already on empty, I’ll do something else. Maybe I’ll take my son to the park and, if I’m feeling up to it physically, I’ll play with him with the soccer ball. If I’m not up to it, maybe I’ll take him out somewhere, or we’ll play a board game. Or we’ll read one of his books together. Or maybe I’ll go sight-seeing with my husband around town. Or maybe I’ll take a “mini-cation” and do something want to do–by myself. Maybe I’ll see a movie I’ve been wanting to see. Maybe I’ll sit by the bay and listen to the water lapping against the seawall, or I’ll . Maybe I’ll go shopping! I do something to shift from my current state of mind and that can be enough to loosen the words out of me.
  3. I try another genre or category. One of the things I love about writing for different age categories or genres, is that when I’m feeling drained in one area, I can simply cross over to another and it’s fresh, new words. A new feel. A new idea or direction–and that’s enough to get me back on track.
  4. I try another creative activity. I love photography. I love to draw (though I’m not really good at it lol). I love crafts. When I’m feeling bogged down and uninspired, sometimes all I have to do is to get my brain on another creative endeavor and I feel refreshed. Other authors paint. Or write music. Or are graphic designers. Any creative exercise outside of writing can fuel your words!
  5. I find my way to nature. There’s something to be said about letting nature fill you with peace from the inside out and letting that peace dislodge the words from you.

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So what do you do to get your words back?

Book Hangover

book-hangoverThis is me right now, still hungover on Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. To say it’s awesome is an understatement. The characters…wow. And the setting…amazing. And the costumes… sigh. And the writing…lovely.

Okay, I’ll stop. I’m not very eloquent right now. 😉 I promise to come back with a review, though, once the semester’s officially over.

In the meantime, I’ll keep dreaming with Alina, Mal and the Darkling. 🙂

Five Random Thoughts…Because I’m feeling random today

1. I absolutely, positively, no questions asked love the 2004 film The Phantom of the Opera. It is one of the most beautiful adaptations with exquisite detail to set and costume. And of course, there’s the music: it’s hauntingly beautiful. It’s the kind of music that reaches deep into your core and moves you. Andrew Lloyd Weber is a genius. I have to admit that I saw the movie before I ever saw the Broadway production, and that the production I saw was a traveling one, when they came many years ago to South Florida. Though I liked that version, it simply didn’t live up to the art that was the movie (and I love live theater!)

It had been a couple of years since I’d last seen it, and a few weekends ago, my husband and I had a date night in. We pulled out the movie and watched it, marveling again at each part, each song. And I keep replaying the songs –I can’t get enough of them.

2. I am definitely an English teacher and my son is definitely an English teacher’s son. Today, as we were getting ready for bed and I was reading him some bible stories, I went into a short lesson on what a metaphor was. And he listened to everything I had to say, repeating the word back to me and trying out an example with it. He’s four. Yep. Definitely an English teacher’s kid.

3. I want to see The Hunger Games so badly. Like, really, really, really badly. It’s like when Harry Potter came out and every inch of me itched to go see it. That’s me now. Waiting. (Im)patiently. Tapping my toes, strumming my fingers, flipping through the pages, again. Just waiting. I don’t know when I’ll be able to go, which makes the waiting that much more unbearable.

4. I’m eagerly awaiting Veronica Roth’s book Insurgent to come out. I think it’s May; I pre-ordered it on my phone. Sometime before it comes out, I’ll have to re-read Divergent so that it’s fresh in my mind. It’s one of several books that I want to read this summer.

5. I want summer to get here. Now. I’m not a very patient person (though I can be). Four more weeks until this term is over and grades are due. After that, though I’m teaching online courses in the summer, the hours during the day are mine for a glorious month while my son is in school. That means I will have four days, for five weeks, to just write. Of course, I have to factor in some gym time, my gallbladder surgery, and some grading, but I will have more uninterrupted writing time than I do during the regular terms. And I just can’t wait! My goal of finishing the first draft by the end of summer is very much within my grasp…I can almost feel it. And I’m anxious to finish it now. So I can begin really revising it and whipping it into shape; though I tend to write and revise as I go along (I can’t just write from start to finish–I do a lot of back and forth), I won’t feel as if I’m truly revising until the whole damn thing is done. I already have agents I want to query and other stories floating up there in my mind, so I just need to finish writing this thing. Now. 😉