Ah, looking for inspiration, are you? Have you tried checking beneath the sofa?
Ask any artist where they get their ideas from, and you’re likely to be met with something sarcastic like that, or outright horror, or a denial of the possibility that ideas could possibly be ‘located’ anywhere. They simply drift down to us from the ether of creative energy, they surge up from our subconscious, they ‘hit’ us when we’re least expecting it. We don’t find them. They find us.
Well, partly rubbish.
It’s true that ideas do seem to come from nowhere. But ideas only come to those who seek them out (most of the time), and it’s the process of searching that will always lead to inspiration. It’s about living an eventful life, it’s about reading widely. But most importantly, it’s about thinking, everywhere you go and everything you read: what can I do with this idea?
Art is what comes out the other end when you consume a calorific diet of other people’s content, and digest it properly, and it builds into a form and shape that you simply can’t keep inside you any longer.
I won’t develop that image any further.
As a person who spends a lot of time writing, it's weird taking a step back to work out where the inspiration really comes from.
Depending on the type of writing, ideas can come from all different places. But more often than not, the best ideas are formed from the act of writing itself. By picking up a pen and paper with no idea of where it's going to take you, the possibilities become endless.
Even though it may not feel like it, you often end up with so much more than you would have done if you'd just kept scrolling.
Reading books and articles, reflecting on personal experiences and taking inspiration from my own passions are always things that keep me writing. Being a person that does things - and never being afraid to try something new - allows me to create an interesting life which gives me things to write about.
Every night I write down a few highlights of the day, allowing me to keep my writing habit a daily ritual. Revisiting old parts of my life and thinking of all the stories I'll have to look back on in years to come will always be enough to make me bring pen to paper.
Firstly, it's important to know that people who love to write are not motivated every day and I certainly come across 'writer's block' majority of the time. Writing novels is a lengthy process and finding inspiration can sometimes be hard especially with university work, part-time jobs, hobbies and other commitments. Some days I will be in a more creative mindset than other days and that's normal.
Here are some ways that I find inspiration to write:
Inspiration is typically something that ‘strikes’ us:
Here I sit, at the water’s edge, and, suddenly (bolt-from-the-blue): it hits me.
So, what seizes us?
I meet a good mate below the concrete walkway bridging Northumberland street and Northumbria university. Stairs to this walkway are just past this spot, behind the Laing. At the top, facing the smooth-cornered skyscraper opposite, I’m handed a cigarette. In this motion something congeals— something I draw inwards.
As opposed to the token phrases and gestures (stereotypes), something here dis-joins itself from the common order: some sign of an irrevocably singular encounter.
This may only be expressed through the words we circulate, and therefore elusively, phantasmatically—
but for the work (the fragment, the novel) this is enough.