Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Finding Inspiration

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I find that I love to indulge in what I call "brain food" for inspiration to write. I need to feel smart to get my brain working. I need to feel intellectually stimulated to write, like I'm sure other writers do.

Here are some of my favorites:

The news, in general- I'm a news geek by nature. Whether it's the internet, television or radio, if I want to concentrate, I love all things informative making up my background noise. Sometimes I need quiet to work, especially when I'm fact-checking. Otherwise, I love having on the news. It's almost a reminder of sorts to get working. Watching the news makes me feel like an adult, and as an adult I have to work to provide for myself. And how do I provide for myself? I write. What can't the news live without? Writers.

NPR- Speaking of news, here's where I sometimes get mine. Talk radio in general is a great way to get your mind working. It's free, easy to find, and informative. While others may prefer more opinion-related talk, I prefer the news. NPR (on WNYC in the NYC area) focuses on topics I care about, and topics I don't hear about anywhere else. For me, it's a must listen. What's also great about news radio is I can turn it down if I need to concentrate, but feel like I need background noise.

Behind the scenes/plot, character analysis- I love the "goodies" on DVDs: behind the scenes, deleted scenes, intricate plot and character detail. I'm a big fan of television because of the opportunities it provides for character and story development. While film has its own, television series are afforded more time to develop with seasons. And I love those pieces about character and story change over the years. It's great contrast and thought-provoking.

Reading- Reading great editorials are what got me into writing in the first place. When someone else's thought inspire you to think about how you would relate messages to others, it gets you going. It's a bit odd to explain sometimes; I'm the type of person whose mind reads about current events and finds herself thinking about new ways to start an article about pop culture. In other words, reading other people's work gets me thinking about my own work. If you let your mind wander while being intellectually stimulated, you never know what you can get.

Call these my mental warmups- sometimes I’m not at my best if I start writing right away. I need a period of mental stretching, if you will. These things are important because they get me intellectually stimulated, and they get me inspired. Athletes need to stretch, singers need to do vocal warm ups, and I as a writer need to find some inspiration to write. And yes, while I'm not writing fiction, I do still need inspiration. It can be difficult to write an informative article if you can't come up with a proper way to get it started. I need to feel my mind working. And once it starts, it's up to meet to start. And with inspiration comes great work, thankfully. I don't know what I'd do if I had nothing to interest myself in. If I didn't, then I wouldn't be writing, would I?