Being an inspirational speaker and a writer (who requires inspiration for stories to bloom) I thought I’d talk a little about inspiration itself.
So, what is inspiration?
Paraphrasing from dictionary.com – Inspiration is: an animating influence.
Essentially inspiration is anything which causes you to “act”.
As a speaker this is my goal, to just inform and educate, and also to get you to a place where you are ready to DO something about what you learned. An truly inspiring speech would be one where you are moved to act either right there and then (buy a book on changing your life or sign up for coaching or whatever) or where you firmly intend to take action on something as soon as you are able (write poetry when you get home, tomorrow at work ask for a raise, etc).
In terms of being inspired to write, this comes as some influence (sometimes external, sometimes internal) which causes me to get a certain feeling, a “need” if you will, to write as soon as possible. It is a strong pull to get to the nearest keyboard or piece of paper and get that certain scene or idea down as soon as I can before it is lost.
But how exactly do you identify “inspiration” against all of the other emotions and thoughts which push and pull us in various directions?
Well this can be very hard to separate, so let me give you some examples.
The first Romantic-Fantasy novella I wrote was inspired by a statuette myself and my friends got my wife to celebrate her first publication. It was a “fairy” statuette of a woman with a massive sword as tall as she was. I thought about this for some time, I was inspired by this driving thought of: how could a woman (who appears to be quite slender and, for lack of a better word, “weak”) wield such a sword? Is it magic? Is it some fated sword she is meant to wield? Is the sword much lighter than it looks? Is she much stronger than she looks? Also how did she come by such a weapon? Where did it come from? Who would think to give a massive sword to a girl?
All of the thoughts and wonder which I got from that one statuette began to brew a story in my mind of mystical weapons and those fated to wield them (even if they did not know they were fated to wield such a weapon). It took a while for those thought to build to a strong pull to write about it, but when they did, I couldn’t help but start the story.
More recently, I have heard a song by Imagine Dragons called “Demons” which (even though I already had this story idea in mind) is really inspiring me to write it. The song talks of the demons in side of us and I have a dark character who I imagine having a whole lot of internal demons, so every time I hear that song (including when I play it over and over on youtube) I think of this character and get inspired to write about him and develop who he is and how he reacts to the story and the world around him. Just thinking about it name makes me want to be writing that instead of this post.
The above two examples, I must stress, come with an intense emotional “pull” toward the ideas and stories I mention. Compare that to the following…
Actually it’s really very difficult for me to come up with these examples, because the ideas and emotions behind them are fleeting and fade away quickly (hence much harder to remember now after the fact), but let me see if I can dredge one up.
Ok, here’s one.
A few nights ago I had a dream. It was one of those very vivid dreams you have just before waking up, that you keep thinking about after you wake up to make sense of. It was about a helicopter and when you put on the helmet to pilot it, it created a neural interface with the Artificial Intelligence of the helicopter and you could talk to it. The helicopter has a simple name (an acronym of course) which you could call it, and you chatted with it like any other person.
Great idea, which lingered in my head for some time … but it didn’t have a great amount of that emotional “pull” behind it to make me DO anything about it. It was nice to think about, but nothing ever got done about it.
So if you want some inspiration, look around you. I find it almost anywhere, a song, a statue, a sunset, a speech, a scene in a movie, or pretty much any other “s” word (sorry couldn’t help myself). See all of the wonder around you and then see what elements of it “Pull” at your emotions strong enough to make you really-really want to act on it.