In the overall scheme of writing things, it is relatively easy to get inspired. (See my list of things that inspire me at the end of this article.) But the more important question is: how do things inspire you? What is the process by which inspiration translates to action?
Having inspiration is meaningless if it doesn't propel you to do something about it. Inspiration is a thought that lodges in your head and, hopefully, moves you to action. Most often inspiration moves me to write, but I can also be inspired to donate money to a cause, volunteer time, call a friend, book a trip, buy an item of clothing–you name it.
I'm interested not only in the things that inspire us but also the process by which this works. Here's my theory: a thought or idea enters your head or an event occurs, which creates emotion, and that emotion moves you to act. For instance, I read a blog which tells a story about a suffering family (idea)which creates sympathy (emotion)which moves me to donate to aid their support (action).
I know, I know. This is somewhat obvious, at least in theory. In reality in can be murky as all hell and sometimes the first two steps get engaged but the last, and most important, lies dormant. And that is what truly interests me–idea to emotion to action.
The process might not be quite so clear cut for writing inspiration, because, as we all know, the muse works in mysterious ways. Sometimes it works in an oblique way, as in I watch somebody, say, an athlete, excel at an activity and that makes me want to go excel in my own activity of writing. The important thing to recognize is what actually makes you get up from the couch and go write.
To activate the process of inspiration, you first have to look for it. To assist you in that endeavor, I've listed some of the ways that I get inspired below. Steal as many ideas from it as you want and use them as you compile your own list. Think of it as an ongoing, ever-changing list. And then expose yourself to these sources of inspiration as often as possible to allow it to motivate you to take action.
The Inspiration List
1. My family
2. My friends
3. My clients
7. Writing (of course! Writing inspires more writing.)
13. Athletic Events
14. Counting my blessings
16. To be continued…
Now, tell me. What is your process of getting inspired? What will you add to your inspiration list? Please let us know in the comments.
Photo (its a jellyfish) by Steve Jurvetson.