May 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Inspiration; Mistress or Dominatrix?

Do I have your attention?

Lol!

Don’t worry; this is totally a PG-rated (okay, maybe PG-13) post. But last week, when Rebekah and I decided to watch a documentary titled Cracking the Mayan Code, I got to thinking about inspiration, and since it’s Thursday, I thought it would be a good topic for Thursday Night Write.

You’re probably asking; what does a dominatrix have to do with Mayan hieroglyphs?

Stay with me. I’m getting there.

So, we’re watching this documentary, and honestly, I just needed something to space out to. My brain was on overload from a series of hardcore (wow, I’m really taking it to the mat with this dominatrix thing, right?!) deadlines that started in January and won’t let up until fall. We don’t watch TV unless we can stream a show from Netflix, and even then, we typically watch one show from beginning to end in 45-minute increments and only ine episode a night Mon-Thurs. But that night, I was just fried.

My typical thought process on inspiration goes like this; make your own. Sure, sometimes I get inspired by stuff. But it’s random and fickle and totally unreliable when you need a stream of ideas steady enough to make a living in a business that trades depends on them.

Basically, I wasn’t expecting inspiration when I sat down to watch Cracking the Mayan Code. But as I sat there, half letting my mind wander and half watching, I remembered how much I love ancient cultures. I thought about the Ancient Near East class I’d taken when I was a teenager, and how awesome it would be to set a YA book in that time and place. I thought about all the epigraphers and cryptographers who’d worked to decipher the Mayan alphabet and how fascinating history is and how we never know where the next big discovery will come from or what it will lead to. I thought about the awe-inspiring Mayan construction and the lush jungles surrounding the temples and the people that historians agree were war-like, violent, and aggressive.

And even though I didn’t come away with an IDEA, I was inspired.

It reminded me that sometimes, being a hardass, even with yourself, can be a bad thing. How many times have I wracked my brain to come up with an idea or a solution to a writing problem, only to find the answer while I sat on the bleachers watching Andrew and Caroline run track? Or driving to the grocery store? Or watching a (totally unrelated) movie?

At the same time, I HAVE finished books and found inspiration and worked through roadblocks in my writing by pushing myself — forcing myself — through them. By working every day. By treating this job like the very real job that it is, logging hours and hours at my desk, fingers hovering over the keyboard.

Then again, “sheer force of will” is a saying my mother uses often when talking about me.

There’s no easy answer. Sometimes we need to push, and sometimes we need to take a step back. Sometimes we need to hold our feet to the fire, and sometimes we need to drop them into a cool river and say, “Ahhhhh.”

I guess the trick is knowing when to rely on the dominatrix — and when to light the candles and cue the music.

See what I did there? Inspiration, dominatrix, Mayan glyphs, even my mother! I got it all in!

What about you? How do you find inspiration — not just for writing, but for everything?!

<3

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7 thoughts on “Inspiration; Mistress or Dominatrix?

  1. Dana Lee Burton says:

    I find inspiration from so many things! Music is usually good about putting pictures in my mind that I later transfer to paper. Movies and tv shows can inspire me if they’re well made; I borrow the elements I liked and use them in my own stuff. Same thing for books. Occasionally I get ideas from my strange dreams. A really memorable time of my life too will serve as inspiration. That accounts about half. The other half is usually when I’m relaxed and/or bored and I let my mind wander. I end up connecting things that have never been thought of or dream up a random scene. Boredom also drives me to write since it gives me something to do!

  2. Brian says:

    Music and books. I’m reading a book now that has totally changed my writing. For me it’s such a hard book to get through, but I find myself reading it and enjoying the prose–not the story–so much so that I’m pulled in to read it every day.

    Been reading a lot of Sci-Fi lately and this one books beautiful prose has me reading it for the prose and not the story. I see my writing getting better since I started it.

  3. Nazarea says:

    I find if I’m faithful to my mistress (write daily) I have more inspiration and writing is easier. If I don’t? Its gets bitchy and hard and I struggle with my current idea, much less new ones.
    I also have found history and music and photography feed my creative juices and make my inspiration lots less cranky 🙂

  4. krystal says:

    I usually let many weeks or months go by without journaling and then trying to remember everything and then writing it in my journal feels like a great accomplishment. I get very random inspirations I can’t describe when I will usually get them because they just hit me and then i need something to write with. usually when im up at night trying to fall asleep is when inspiration strikes.

  5. VeganYANerds says:

    Haha, I had a giggle at this post! I think that inspiration can come from so many things and sometimes it’s better not to force it and it might surprise you!

  6. Erin M says:

    I’ve learned that every time I try to force myself to come up with inspiration or an idea or something, it doesn’t work. I might come up with an idea, but it usually sucks and then my head hurts from trying to think of an idea in the first place.

    The project I’m currently in query-mode for…I got that idea one day when I was on a walk and listening to a podcast. By the time I got home, my main character was talking to me in my head and I had to go write what she was saying.

    Sooo…I get inspiration from anything. Other books, podcasts, TV shows…the news is a great way for me to get ideas, because news stories are always kind of weird…conversations with friends…jokes…anything. Inspiration always hits me at the weirdest times for the weirdest reasons, and sometimes I don’t even remember what gave me the idea in the first place.

    1. MichelleZink says:

      Walking is a great meditative tool for working through writing problems and/or coming up with new ideas. I wish I had more time; I’d start one of those Rambler clubs I’ve head they have in Europe where people walk really long distances!
      <3

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