The Beautiful Muse

13 Aug

The great thing about being a writer is that we can be inspired by anything and everything. When the words aren’t flowing (as frustrating and horrid as that can be), we can be sure that there will be a new source of inspiration waiting for us on the horizon. It might be days away, a week, maybe even a month, but we can be sure that it’s there, and that it will come.

Over the years of what I call my “serious” writing – writing with the passion and the hope of publication – my words have been inspired by so many things: other writers, classic poetry, a moment between two strangers in a shopping mall, the lyrics of a simple song, cinema, my own life.

Lately I’ve found films are inspiring me more and more. They’re planting a seed in my mind, an idea that quickly blossoms into something I know I’ll explore one day. Cinema is another passion of mine, so it’s lovely to know that the few hours I invest in a film isn’t necessarily wasted time. More often than not I’ll come away from a movie session, my mind brimming with new and wonderful ideas. And the funny thing is, most of the time the ideas I get really have nothing to do with the film I’ve just watched – they’ll have some little thing in common, like an essence, an attitude, a setting.

For example, my most recent plot idea (and one I will be exploring right after I finish the draft for “Times of Bright”) came to me while watching the final scene in “Bright Star.” If you haven’t seen the film, the scene has Abbie Cornish’s character, Fanny, walking through a wintry wood reciting the poem Keats wrote for her. My mind took the winter of the woods and before her beautiful and poignant voice had reached the end of the poem I had a whole new world erected in my mind, and characters that I was already half in love with.

I think the key to this inspiration thing is finding passion – not the kind of passion you can touch, but the kind you feel deep inside yourself, the kind you get from writing, and with the same level of intensity. And when you find your passion – whether it be from a movie or a song on the radio or the words of a best friend written on pastel paper from the fourth grade, the inspiration will come, and it won’t stop.

What kinds of things inspire you in your writing?

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8 Responses to “The Beautiful Muse”

  1. Lila 13/08/2010 at 5:37 pm #

    I feel like I haven’t commented on your blog in ages, so hello again!

    Ah, yes. I often get frustrated because it seems like every other writer in the world is just brimming with new ideas at every turn! I’m not sure why, but I’m really not like that. I get inspiration too, but mostly they’re for new scenes in my current project, or future books, or backstories for characters. I’ve never had an idea for a new project altogether.

    I hear you about the movie thing. I’m the same way, movies always provide me with ideas. And just like you, my new ideas are never about the plot or the characters in the movie, but they’re settings, or ideas, or images that captivate me and make me think of something new within my own project.

    Great post! πŸ™‚

    • thewritingant 15/08/2010 at 4:51 pm #

      It’s been a while in between posts for me – hello again, Miss Lila! πŸ™‚

      I seem to go through bouts of new ideas. I’ll have zero inspiration for new projects for months, and then all of a sudden I’ll have four or five in the space of a few weeks. I just try to write them all down in note form as best as I can and then maybe go back to the best of them and try to flesh them out more later.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that picks up background inspiration from films. It’s such a fun way to get a breakthrough in your writing projects (and I, too, have had breakthroughs in current WIP’s, as well as new projects).

      Thanks for your comment! xx a

  2. Lynn 13/08/2010 at 7:35 pm #

    There’s nothing better than when you are head over heels with whatever it is you are working on. For me, it tends to be cyclical and when I’m really stuck, I turn to books and seek inspiration from others.I let them feed me and before I know it, I’m back in the saddle again. Head over heels once again.

    • thewritingant 15/08/2010 at 4:53 pm #

      I’m a bit like that, too, Lynn. I find when I’m in a real “writing” mood, and pumping out so many words, I can’t read a thing. I might want to read, but I don’t dare put a stop to the words while I’m in the zone, and I get so panicked, too, that the styles of the writers I’m reading while in the writing zone will somehow appear in my writing. I’m a bit superstitious like that.

      Thanks for commenting, Lynn! xx a

  3. Anna 14/08/2010 at 1:57 am #

    Lovely post, Amber. It’s always so wonderful when you stumble across a new thing that inspires you. Lately, because my theatre stuff is one up over my writing on the Priority List, I’ve been finding that just doing a show or rehearsing a monologue or soliloquy – something that sets me in the mind of a character – will be enough to inspire. While the character and the play is completely different from what I may intend to write, the act of living and breathing it effects my ideas and my writing. Maybe this has something to do with the passion you mention; the undefinable, but tangible kind.

    It’s always good when one hobby has a symbiotic relationship with another, I guess. LOL. πŸ˜€

    • thewritingant 15/08/2010 at 4:55 pm #

      Thank you, Anna. It’s definitely great when two hobbies can co-exist together like that, and be so helpful to each other. πŸ™‚

      I hope all your theatre is going well – it sounds like you’re up to your neck in at the moment (I bet you’re having a ball!)

      Thanks for stopping by, dear. xx a

  4. Carol Ann Hoel 14/08/2010 at 3:15 am #

    Hello Amber. Creatively I am in a lull, a quiet period, a respite. A long-time writer recently told me that writer’s block is time between projects when a writer needs to rest and recuperate.This view of it put a positive turn on something writers regard as a negative experience. I agree that your inspiration will come. Wait and it will come rushing in like a wave rolling on the sea.

    • thewritingant 15/08/2010 at 4:58 pm #

      Hi Carol! I like that new take on writer’s block – it definitely sounds better than the way I’ve always looked at the ol’ block. It sounds true, too. Writing is an exhaustive art and a lot of people don’t understand how much rest you need after spending so much time on a project.

      I used to get so frustrated when I wasn’t writing (I was one of those writers who expected to be able to write thousands of words every day). But now I simply take each day as it comes – if I write, I write, and if I don’t, then I rest the muse for the next time it decides it wants to add words. The inspiration is always there, it just needs to simmer and perfect itself before it drifts in on the breeze.

      xx a

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