A Search For Inspiration (Part 2)
October 1, 2013

A Search For Inspiration (Part 2)

Recently, I wrote about my struggles to find inspiration and my online search for advice. In that first installment, I wrote about finding inspiration at our desks, particularly for work. Since my work is writing and teaching, that means inspiration to write, grade, and work on projects and reports. But as a writer, I also need creative inspiration. The Guardian provided some great advice from artists of all walks.

From musicians to dancers to writers, composers, artists, architects, directors, actors, and photographers, The Guardian has advice to inspire any creativity. I mean, the article has so much advice for inspiration that I am almost a bit overwhelmed by it. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at some of the ways these artists find creative inspiration:

1) Just Start

Whether you are a writer, dancer, artist, actor, or photographer, you have to start somewhere. For writers (of songs, plays, fiction, poetry, journalism, music, or otherwise), this means to just start scribbling. As musician Guy Garvey told The Guardian, “The first draft is never your last draft. Nothing you write is by accident.” As Anne Lamott wrote in her book on writing called Bird by Bird, “Now, practically even better news than that of short assignments is the idea of shitty first drafts. All good writers write them.” So we just have to start somewhere and then move to making it better. If we don’t start, we are not creating art.

Along with just starting, though, is relishing the revise. Starting brings out the creative piece, but revision perfects it. Both are necessary steps in any artist’s process. For me, revision is almost more important than the inception of my piece.

2) Go for a Walk

Exercise can be incredibly inspiring. In fact, when I am struggling to focus or find inspiration for my own creativity, exercise is one of the best tools I have. I am sure it has to do with energy and endorphins, but I think that taking that walk or going for that job or bike ride or engaging in yoga just helps me to open up to creativity. I think playwright Polly Stenham has this right idea in The Guardian article.

3) Check Out Other Forms of Art and Other Artists

Ballet dancer Tamara Rojo writes, “I seek inspiration in film, theatre, music, art – and in watching other ballet companies, other dancers, and other types of dance. I never feel jealous of another good dancer: I always feel there is so much to learn from them.” I will often look at photography, videos, paintings, sculptures, dances and other artistic mediums to inspire my own creativity. And I regularly read other writers and poets not only to find inspiration but also to grow as a writer and poet myself. They serve as examples, role models, and mentors through their words.

4) Routine Helps

As artists, we often live life in the moment, not thinking about or planning further than right now. However, composer Mark-Anthony Turnage says that “Routine is really important. However late you went to bed the night before, or however much you had to drink, get up at the same time each day and get on with it.” Ernest Hemingway, one seriously prolific and impacting American writer of the 20th century, woke up every morning and wrote 500 words no matter how drunk he had gotten the night before. And he was an alcoholic who was drunk almost every night. He never wrote drunk; rather, he waited until the early hours of the morning to do so. Routine is Important.

The piece from The Guardian has myriad other tidbits of advice, all worth checking out. For me, this piece inspired what I needed to sit down and write. May my blog here help do the same for you.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a piece to just start…

Image Credit: Thinkstock.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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