I thought it might be interesting to go through my actual process of finding inspiration, in the hopes it might help other writers with the same problem.
So, what do I do? Here is a list of my own ‘inspiring’ actions for possible posts. (PPs)
1. Stockpile a series. This is a weekend project, so I have to plan ahead. If I have a long topic, I can stockpile several articles that I can post at leisure. Novelists do this all the time. There is always a ‘novel in the drawer’ that can be pulled out if block occurs or the writer wants a vacation. Works for me!
2. Keep a ‘jotting notebook.’ I have an inexpensive notebook that goes with me everywhere. In it are scraps of ideas that might work for possible posts (PP).
3. Rework old stuff. I tried that this morning, but the magazine I had saved with the article I had written had gone missing! Back to the drawing board.
4. Coat-tail off popular press. I am a magazine junky. I ‘tear sheet’ every magazine and newspaper that that comes into the house. Right I am looking at an article from the Wall Street Journal on twins in the Olympics (PP: Is telepathy possible?), one from Newsweek on taking the car keys away from elder parents (PP on my own experiences with aging parents?). You get the idea.
5. Run water on my head. I get my best ideas, sometimes, when I am washing my hair or taking a shower. Go figure.
6. Current emotional highs/lows. I put an assemble-by-number desk together this weekend—that feels good. I begged out on a previous engagement to do it. That feels bad. Why?
PP: How do emotions get generated, anyway?
7. Wikipedia! Where I turn to flesh out a post that is a little thin or generate ideas for a new one. The present generation’s greatest invention.
8 Roget’s II The New Thesaurus, Third Edition Searching the category for motivation and inspiration, for example, I find the phrases: impulse and compulsion: I wonder, how are they different, how are they the same? (PP)
Kindle, fire, spark, spark off, light the fuse: Hmmm. Explore the social phenomenon behind Kindle: Amazon’s New Wireless Reading Device. When do we decide to buy or do something, and what are the instigators? Can we be a fuse for someone else, and if so, how? PPs.
9. Random House Webster’s Word Menu A delightful book that categorizes words similar to the Thesaurus, but then gives you a definition!
Under the Intuition and Imagination section I find: Chimerical, clairvoyance, fastastical, flight of fancy, hallucination, illusion, rapture.
What is the current trend in the supernatural: Stephanie Meyer’s vampire series, Heroes on TV, Matrix and comic book heroes on the Silver Screen. And why is it called the ‘Silver Screen’ anyway? All PPs.
10. Go with the resistance. What is writer’s block and how does it serve us? Is it habitual? Anxiety? PP
What I find is that if I stay with the discomfort long enough, something bubbles to the surface. If I take the first idea thrown to me by the reluctant genie, I usually get dreck. If I give in to distraction: call somebody, turn on the tube, open the frig, absolutely nothing happens.
But if I can co-exist with the pressure and ambiguity, my mental body will shift into an easier position, a writing position, and bingo! Something happens.
Absolute magic at work—inspiration.