Finding Inspiration by Rochelle Melander
You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. —Jack London
It had been a bad week. Then it got worse. On Thursday afternoon, my husband dropped me off at home to walk the dogs before I headed out to a networking event. He was taking the kids to their music lessons. I walked in on Emitageddon 2012. The younger of our two dogs had pooped, peed and puked on the living room floor. She’d also peed on my son’s bed. The older of the two peed in my office and in the hall. Holding back my own urge to purge, I cleaned up the messes and took the dogs for a walk. When we returned, I noticed that I had missed one small puddle. As I contemplated this with the door open, the older and smaller of the two dogs looked at me, looked at the possibility of freedom, and ran out the door. I chased that silly dog down the street and around the corner in my clogs. By the time I caught him, brought him home, and cleaned up the rest of the pee, I was sweating and in no mood to connect with others. On top of that, I had an article to write and first pages to proof. I needed some inspiration.
This month, I’ve been trying new ways to get inspired. Here are three that have worked for me lately:
1. Making Art.
Right after Emitageddon 2012, I joined a group of colleagues on an outing to Splash Studio, an art bar in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. For a fee, the art bar provides a teacher, canvas, an apron, and all the supplies needed to paint your very own masterpiece. I was nervous—the night’s offering was a still life, a task I had failed at in high school. Our teacher, artist Daniel Fleming, provided step-by-step instructions and loads of encouragement. During the evening’s two breaks, we could purchase more creative juice, admire the work of other burgeoning artists, or get individual coaching from Fleming. Sometime in the midst of the three-hour event, I found flow—and simply played with the paint. I experimented with light and shadow, the two elements I could not master in high school. I didn’t leave an expert artist, but I was able to let go of my worries for a few hours and just paint.
2. Stalking Spring.
The flowers blossomed early in southeastern Wisconsin. Usually, I don’t begin my flower chasing until mid-April. This year, the daffodils bloomed in March. In my neighborhood, a few homeowners have planted in bulb gardens. Every year, I track the progression of spring by following what’s blooming in their flowerbeds. Lately, I’ve used their gardens as a way of digging up inspiration in the middle of the day. When I cannot focus on writing, I head over to their lawns and soak up the energy of the flowers. On most days, this small dose of color is enough to shift my energy and help me write.
3. Poetry Practice.
I decided to participate in National Poetry Writing Month on April Fool’s Day. I did not sign up anywhere, I just committed to writing a poem a day. Doing a daily poem has proved more fun that I thought possible. Because I do not write poetry and can never imagine publishing anything I’ve written, writing poetry feels like play.
When it comes to finding inspiration, we can be fickle. On one day, walking ignites the poetic flame. On another, taking a walk is nothing more than exercise. I recommend that writers and other creative types develop a list of 10 inspiring activities. Whenever writing does not work, turn to the list and do something that inspires you.
Your turn: how do you find inspiration? Leave a comment below!
WANT TO USE THIS TIP IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is an author, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) is the 10th book authored by Melander, who teaches professionals how to write fast, get published, establish credibility, and navigate the new world of social media. Get your free subscription to her Write Now! Tips Ezine at https://www.writenowcoach.com and sign up to be a member of her Write Now! Mastermind class for professionals at http://www.writenowmastermind.com