Someone asked me recently what it was that inspired me. I think I shot off some glib answer about writing was not inspiration, but dedication. While that is actually very true, it got me to thinking; what is it that truly inspires us? I write most of the time because I have to...not that I don't love it, mind you; I couldn't do anything else. But real, profound inspiration is hard to come by. When it happens, the choir of angels sing in your ear, the skies open, and the Muse begins the daily beatings. You will not eat, you will not sleep, and there is nothing else in the universe until she is done. I wrote a song about it once: You drive me with desire, You feed my fantasies, You fill my heart with fire, Then drive me to my knees. I loathe and yet I love you, Without you I would die, I am a slave to your sweet whim, And I often ask you why. If you want to hear it, here's a link.
For me personally, I have been deeply inspired only a few times in my lifetime; a short story written in high school sparked a 300,000 word epic fantasy (Starsight Series), a viewing of The Phantom of the Opera filled my head instantly with a two act musical (The Angel of St. Pierre), which I wrote in four days; a dream of Rome possessed me...and I couldn't get it down fast enough (The Centurion & The Queen). The rest of the time? I wish I could tell you that that fire happens every time, but the reality is, it doesn't; writing is all about hunting the muse.
I've found that the best way to light a fire under the Muse's butt, is to take the time to think. However, this is the one act that eludes me more than anything else...even writing. As a writer, I have to think, contemplate, meditate, ruminate, and many other "ates," as well. But it is so hard to find the time...the baby needs watching, work is crazy right now, you've got a looming deadline, your favorite show is on. I'm certain other authors know this tune intimately. So, how do we find the time just to dream? For me, I have to sit propped up in the bed, close my eyes, and meditate. If I'm trying to figure out what comes next in a book, I go for a walk and talk to myself...it's pretty funny to watch me run dialogue between two hearty men (ya har)! I get some pretty strange looks, too.
So, for those of you who seek inspiration, you can't wait for the muse to strike. She is a lazy, drunken sod, as I've said before, and needs a good swift kick in the pants from time to time. Turn off the TV, the radio, the internet and take some time to get to know an old friend...you. She's not as boring as you might think...:)
Now, just to make this fun, I'm giving away a free ecopy of The Centurion & The Queen or The Edge of Honor to the person who has the BEST way to hunt the muse...shotguns, hand grenades, and nets are nor allowed. The judge will be me, so needless to say, bribes are allowed and the contest will be truly unbalanced (like it's creator). Any takers? :)
A Cup of Comfort for Single Mothers
Starsight, Vol. I & II
The Centurion & The Queen
The Edge of Honor
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