Tag Archives: inspiration

If I’m Being Honest

I’m recovering from a low point in my life. It’s hard to rise above the pressures weighing down on you, especially when they attack from multiple fronts. Between my final semesters in college, searching for a job to kickoff my career, and juggling my personal life I had become something of a wreck. I’ve made poor decisions and attempted to hide from them. I lied to myself and hurt the people closest to me. I did a lot of foolish things in the name of delusion. It’s difficult to admit, but it’s the truth. It happened. But, it’s also in the past now.

The sweet and beautiful thing about hitting rock bottom is the ability to see things in a new light. The realization that all of your reassurances were false and the scenery you’ve been imaging doesn’t exist is a sobering experience. It’s a moment of clarity that hits you from out of nowhere and left me stunned. If I’m being honest it’s both terrifying and thrilling, but mostly terrifying. The worst part is knowing that I was responsible for the hole I dug and that the collateral, everyone who visited me in my pit of denial, are irreversibly affected in some way by my mistakes. While it wasn’t my intention to cause harm, the fact remains that I did and for someone like me who cares deeply, it stings. Fortunately, I’ve had time to process. I can now say that while I am deeply sorry for my mistakes, I also accept that the past is beyond my reach to change. I found a way to come to terms with myself and now I’m able to breathe again.

I want to revise an earlier statement. The worst part is remembering the wreckage left behind, knowing that it exists in its current state because of my choices. But, the best part is that I got to start over. Despite all of the shame I may have felt I was able to see new opportunities I never thought possible. The unknown is still daunting and Lord only knows where my path will take me, but this time is different. This time my choices are for me. This time there won’t be any lies. This time I won’t accept contentment; I will strive for what makes me happy. This time things will be different because if I’m being honest I have changed and I am better for it.

This is a bit personal and a little dated at this point. It’s something I’ve tried to write about but could never put into the right words until now. With the wax and wane of inspiration it wasn’t until now that I found enough of my voice to share this. It’s not the brightest of topics, but if there’s anything to take away from this it is that change isn’t always a bad thing. You may make mistakes in life that bring great shame, but mistakes are part of all of us and their lessons are what help us grow. I have dramatically changed from the person that I used to be and in the beginning it terrified me. I’ve come to realize the beauty of change in that it opens the door to possibilities we never imagined. It allowed me to see the world in a new light. I hope that anyone struggling with themselves, anyone on the road to self-discovery, anyone unhappy with the place they’re in… Please don’t accept contentment. Fight for your happiness and your individuality. As much as it hurts to leave people and things behind us, you’ll only hurt yourself more if you pretend everything is okay when it’s not. I speak from experience. 

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Trapped Inside The Hunter’s Snare

How do I put into words, the scattered images flashing through my mind?

Where do I start, when do I stop?

I’m chasing shadows, revisiting a past committed to memory, and yet my hand passes through like a ghosts.

Something tangible is all I ask.

I grasp at straws, always finding the shortest one a midst a sea of wondrous creativity. 

There is so much potential that I am astounded, dumbfounded, and then confounded by my inability. 

How do I mold this hardened clay?

Where do I go from here, trapped inside the hunter’s snare?

The Tragedy of the Loo

Okay, alright! It’s not the most clever of titles, but it shouldn’t take long for you to see where this is going.

The cramped space between four white walls and a simple door, with scents of lavender and rose, and quite possibly a small window perch for the cat of the house; it’s here in this place that many successes are borne, but a graveyard for a thousand more. Yes, I’m referring to the bathroom and yes, this is positively, unequivocally about writing.

How is it that a room unadorned or sparsely laden can provide the mind nourishment for its endless hunger when all else seems to fail? How many times has the figurative light bulb suddenly flickered on whilst bathing under the rain of the shower head? Too many times to count in my case. My attempts to write comfortably at my desk- which is surrounded by sculptures of dragons and charr, posters of the famous Harry Potter, and drawings of my own design- continually end before they begin. Perhaps it’s a place too cluttered by other ideas and stories and thus fogs my mind from my own creativity. I can only speculate.

Some days I swear the Internet will be my undoing; it’s a thief for attention that steals my precious time and for what? Biased news, rumors, and of course a thousand adorable cat pictures. It’s certainly a contributor to the dilemma I face, but even when my resolve steels to limit my distraction I find other, more demanding obstacles: vicious headaches, studying to be done, and the uncomfortable haze- the kind that is only remedied by sleep.

I will ever wonder how a moment in the loo, no matter the reason, can somehow bring to life worlds and characters not yet explored. The tragedy is- and much like waking from a dream- inspiration, motivation, and detail can die just as easily as they appear once you cross the threshold to leave.

Quick Facts

What sort of things get me in the mood to write?

It’s really random in my case. I can be walking down the street under a gorgeous sunset and suddenly look up in awe. I might marvel at the beauty of the world, or momentarily put myself in the shoes of someone else, onlooking the scene from a distance and BAM- There it is, a new story idea. Other spontaneous glimpses of inspiration have come from people watching at the University. I once sat outside the auditorium for an hour in the dark, listening to a violinist play beautifully from an upstairs balcony. The music reminded me of an opera house I visited many years prior and then suddenly my mind contorted the situation into something grim. I don’t know exactly where zombie apocalypse came into play, but the idea transformed from there and maybe one of these days I’ll finish that story.

What music do I listen to while writing?

Oh heavens, are you even ready for this? Everything. Okay, well not everything but pretty damn close. I can list a few (in no particular order) of my preferred bands, but I assure you they are probably not for everyone.

Florence and the Machine
Chavelle
Tool
Katy Perry (Did I just name Katy Perry and Tool in the same list? Hell yeah I did)
A Perfect Circle
All That Remains
Trivium
Poets of the Fall
Nirvana
Disturbed
Lady Gaga (sometimes)
Volbeat
Lords of the Rings soundtracks
Phantom of the Opera soundtracks
World of Warcraft soundtracks
Eminem

Need I go on?

What are some of my favorite books?

I think I’ve made a list of my top reads once before. I’ll go ahead and name my top three as of right now.

1. Steven Erikson
2. George R.R. Martin
3. Christie Golden

What kills a story for you?

Inconsistency, poor character development, glossing over description, and ignoring realism. Life is not without death, so don’t pretend it doesn’t happen. Peace is not without conflict, so again- don’t pretend it doesn’t happen. It’s okay to not write descriptive intimate scenes, and I actually prefer a story with minimal detail on the logistics of the act and more focus on the connection (the spark) between two individuals.

What interests you in a story?

Nothing draws me into a good book like chaos; those are my favorite kinds of hooks. I love character development and figurative language. In my opinion, the best stories are believable.

When Inspiration Strikes…

When inspiration strikes, but it is not for the story you’ve been working on- the story you really want to finish… A few years ago I might have wallowed over it and questioned my next course of action until I ruined it, but my older self knows that you cannot let opportunity slip by or the idea might end up as one of those scrap piles at the bottom of your file bin or amalgamation of paper balls in the trash bin. You simply cannot leave the story to die. No, I will not let this great fount of inspiration go so easily, and I will use it to its fullest potential. One way or another, I will produce a literary work worth reading. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

Inspiration

Inspiration is a driving force that keeps the pen moving or the fingers typing. For some, it might be hard to come by but others find it easily. I find the most troubling aspect of inspiration is its fleeting nature.

You might be sitting on an idea, but you have no sense of direction for it. You are stuck. We have all been there at some point. I have to admit I draw blanks quite often in mid sentence and with no idea how to continue, I might leave it open ended to finish another time or trash the idea altogether. Maybe it’s not meant to be or maybe a little inspiration would help.

Regardless of what potential there is, there is still the matter of figuring it out. Inspiration comes in many forms and tends to appear suddenly with an equally swift disappearance. Inspiration, or rather a lack thereof, is a major cause for some writers to go long periods without writing and that becomes frustrating.

So how do we fuel inspiration? There is no single answer, many possibilities exist, but not all of them will work for every individual.

Music is powerful and might help stir some emotions to get you thinking about the complexities of life, or vice versa- simplicity is important too.

Nature. Go outside and breathe in the fresh air. Look at the trees, the rivers and creeks, the woodland creatures and stretches of cultivated farm land.

You love the city? The flood of people walking down broadway? Think about their story, where they might be headed or how they got there that day. What do you see in dank and quiet alley next to your apartment complex? I suggest thinking about what you love whether it be the outdoors, city life, a movie or song or another author’s story.

On a second line of thought, you can take that advice twist it around. Picture the things you love and now imagine them in ruin, shattered remnants of a distant memory. What were to happen should a fire, natural or otherwise, raze a town? Life is never going to always be perfect, so take something beautiful and distort it. By destroying something cherished you can open the story up in a whole new way and introduce heroism, vengeance, justice, mercy, sacrifice and mourning, which in turn will open another set of opportunities.

Though I usually experience a continuous flow of inspiration throughout the day (most inconveniently while I am sitting through an important lecture) I do go through dry spells too. I favor imagery because I process best, visually. I also follow a cause-effect guideline in all that I do. If cause A (events, actions, etc…) happens, effect B (consequences, benefits, or both) will undoubtedly occur. It is a simple thing that you might not consider but it helps move a story along.

If you have trouble picturing something that has not yet been decided, try making an outline. Start with what you know and expand upon those ideas with the ripples of cause and effect in mind. If your story demands a more complicated approach then make sure you clearly define the laws of the world you have created. Write them out. For example, if physics does not exist in your universe then cause and effect may not apply in the same manner but there are still boundaries.

If anyone ever needs someone to bounce ideas off of, feel free to ask me! Best wishes in finding your inspiration!