Anyone Seeking Inspiration?

I consider myself a writer and a photographer although honestly I don’t quite make a living at either. Still, writing and photography are more than hobbies for me. It’s a passion. So I got to thinking. What inspires passion? What motivates anyone to create art whether in the form of words, pictures, or any other medium?

Inspiration comes from different places and through different means. It could come from a location. For example, I lived for most of my life in upstate New York. I visited the Adirondacks, Whiteface Mountain, and Niagara Falls just to name a few. Those places were impressive but for some reason I wasn’t really inspired until I moved to Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. I guess the moss covered trees, the live oaks, the marsh, and the long stretches of sandy beach just spoke to me. I had never seen such beautiful skies in the morning with puffy bleach white clouds and rays of brilliant light shimmering through. And then there is the sky at night. Breathtaking. The golden colors, the pink and violet hues, all of it inspired me to see things I never noticed before. I have traveled. The Caribbean, South America, many awesome places, but this was in my backyard, in my every day world and so it took on a completely new meaning.

Inspiration can also come from a simple walk through gardens with rainbows of colors, or a butterfly that delicately lands on a purple petal.

It can also come from music, a verse that ignites ideas. It could come from overhearing a conversation, from a smell, or just by watching people.

Different things inspire different people. That little tidbit isn’t exactly life altering news. But for a writer, or any kind of artist, inspiration is the key. Ask anyone who ever suffered from writer’s block. That nagging feeling that something is inside of you, just below the surface but for some reason getting to it is harder than chiseling cement with a nail file.

I believe we have to be open to inspiration. I’m not sure you can just find it on demand. I don’t think you can just stand on the beach and say “okay, damn it, inspire me.” Instead, you have to be open minded, alert, and yet at peace. Let nature talk to you. Let the ripple of a wave motivate you. Listen to the laughter of others or just look at their faces and see what your imagination conjures.

I also believe that one critical key to inspiration is encouragement. A writer might find inspiration to create a novel simply because of a random dream (or perhaps divine intervention), but if not encouraged, that inspiration can linger in a slow, painful death.

I’m contemplating these thoughts because, while I have been inspired to complete a novel and some short stories, I know I have to stay inspired to see them published. Sometimes that can be the hardest part.

The SCWW Conference is close approaching. It’s my first time attending. While I am excited, I am also nervous. I plan to present a novel I have written, rewritten, revised and edited so many times I’ve lost count. It’s my passion. My child. But what will happen to it?

I’ve been encouraged and thus inspired by my writer’s group. I’ve presented pieces of my work to them and sat on the edge of my seat listening to critiques. I understand the meaning of constructive criticism. In fact, I welcome it because in it I find another type of inspiration — the inspiration to improve, to grow, and to aspire into something even better. I also understand and appreciate the old saying – take it with a grain of salt.

Still, rejection can influence the death of inspiration. It doesn’t kill it directly, but it can infect it. How do we handle rejection? We could drive ourselves crazy with all the ‘what ifs’, we could give up, put away the lap top, the pen, toss out the camera, or pour the paint down the drain. Basically, we could say enough. But for anyone ever driven to chisel down to the core and find that awe inspiring creation that could lead to the inspiration of others, that’s nearly impossible to do.

One thing we could do is learn from rejection and realize we’re not alone or even the first. We could think of all the others who came before. All the highly accomplished and widely respected authors who faced rejection.

Kenneth Grahame author of Wind in the Willows was rejected several times because a publisher thought it was an irresponsible holiday story.

Meg Cabot author of The Princess Diaries was rejected 17 times.

John Grisham was rejected a dozen times by publishers and 16 agents.

Irving Stone was rejected 16 times and told his novel, A Lust for Life, was a long, dull novel about an artist. (The book went on to sell over 25 million copies).

To find more authors rejected, goggle http://www.examiner.com/article/30-famous-authors-whose-works-were-repeatedly-and-rudely-rejected.

So, the old cliché that misery loves company might also serve to inspire and hopefully to encourage you not to give up.

To be a writer or any type of artist is truly a contact sport. We are driven not only to write but to share our creations.

I won’t fear rejection. I’ll learn from it. I’ll continue to walk the beach, watch the sky, and embrace the simplicity around me. And for each encouragement I receive, I’ll be grateful. For each critique I sit through, I will listen and learn.

As for the upcoming conference and my extended critique, I admit it’s a huge step. I’d rather take that step then the alternative. So, for anyone who hasn’t registered for the conference, I urge you to attend. Just being there surrounded by so many others, just by taking the chance to present your work, who knows what unimaginable things could be inspired.

About L. Thomas-Cook

Moved from upstate NY three years ago in 2011 to live along the Grand Strand. Retired early childhood education administrator. Certified speech therapist. Volunteer board member in SCWW in 2011 as grant writer and 2014 conference chair. Volunteer and board member in Murrells Inlet Community Theatre. I love to write fiction with twists and turns, the not-so-usual topics, forbidden lovers, conflict, challenges, and psychological thrillers where good fights evil, ghosts haunt the living, and life after death is debated. I love the beach, nature, photography, my family (husband, son, daughter) and my dog, Sonny. Oh, and I'm a napoholic too.
This entry was posted in Blog, Writing Life. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Anyone Seeking Inspiration?

  1. I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this site. Thank you, Iˇll try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your web site?

  2. I like this post, enjoyed this one thanks for posting. “He removes the greatest ornament of friendship, who takes away from it respect.” by Cicero.

  3. blackhat says:

    I’m still learning from you, while I’m improving myself. I definitely enjoy reading everything that is written on your site.Keep the aarticles coming. I liked it!

  4. Of course, what a great site and revealing posts, I surely will bookmark your site.Have an awsome day!

  5. jordans 11 says:

    As I site possessor I believe the content material here is rattling fantastic , appreciate it for your hard work. You should keep it up forever! Good Luck.

  6. Linda Cookingham says:

    A new blog is done about three times a week. Glad you liked it and welcome back!

  7. jordan 11 for sale says:

    Wow! Thank you! I permanently needed to write on my site something like that. Can I include a portion of your post to my blog?

  8. Linda Cookingham says:

    Of course. So glad you liked it. Spent the morning at the beach. Re-inspired once again!

  9. This is the best site for anybody who desires to find out about this subject. You notice so much its nearly onerous to argue with you (not that I truly would want…HaHa). You undoubtedly put a brand new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, simply nice!

  10. Linda Cookingham says:

    Thank you. Thanks for following.

  11. Linda Cookingham says:

    I’m so glad you liked it. Means a lot to me. Keep following. I hope when I publish you’ll enjoy them as well. Also, the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop has lots of great and interesting stuff.

  12. fahsodahwioa says:

    I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours Anyone Seeking Inspiration?. It’s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  13. Randy Balwin says:

    I just want to say I am newbie to blogs and actually loved you’re web page. Most likely I’m planning to bookmark your website . You actually have very good well written articles. Regards for revealing your webpage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *