Where to find inspiration?
by E.C. Jarvis
Shh, I have a secret to tell you. Come here, close the door, bend down low, whisper with me…
There is a well beneath a fountain from which water springs eternal with no discernible source. If you drink from this well with an ancient gold chalice, then you shall receive the gift of inspiration.
This is a question authors get asked all the time. Where did you get your inspiration for your poem/short story/novella/novel/series/entire works/life?
Some of us may be able to pinpoint an exact eureka moment — the point where your neurons fire up, the beast of a muse awakens and you sit down to write something which simply didn’t exist before. But it’s never an entire book. It’s never a complete picture from start to finish. The rest of the work takes… well, work.
The simple answer regarding inspiration is that it is an intangible substance, no more definable than any other ethereal concept. I can promise you this much — if you go searching for inspiration, you won’t find it. Not in its purest form at any rate.
The best inspired moments occur when you aren’t expecting them — usually when your mind is wandering away from reality. Personally, I often get struck by little bolts of inspiration when I’m in the shower, or sometimes on the drive home from work. A long walk can be a good place to start.
Inspiration is hidden away, tucked in the realm of imagination. You can’t grasp hold of it while your focus remains in real life. You may catch it in dreams, but the trouble is you often lose it upon waking. And so it takes some training and practice to allow your mind to sink into the cracks while you’re awake enough to do something about it. This is why people get inspired looking at a sunset, or a painting, or some other similar experience. They are in that moment between actuality and imagination, holding open the door, looking in upon something that doesn’t quite exist, whilst simultaneously looking upon something that does exist.
You can’t manufacture inspiration. You can’t call upon it on a whim. You can’t harness it. You can’t consciously inspire someone else, any more than someone can purposefully inspire you upon request. Stop looking for inspiration, because it doesn’t respond to desperation. It likes to catch you out, to hit you over the head when you’re looking the other way.
Feed your imagination and your day dreams with nothing more than time, and inspiration will pay you a visit.
E.C. Jarvis is a British author working mainly in speculative and fantasy fiction genres.
Since 2015, she has independently published six books spanning two different genres and series’, and had four short stories published in a range of different anthologies.
If you like action packed, fast-paced page turners, then try one of her books. There’s never a dull moment in those pages.
She was born in Surrey, England in 1982. She now resides in Hampshire, England with her daughter and husband.
Columnist at Our Write Side
Originally published at ourwriteside.com on April 5, 2017.