Jeri thank you for telling us about your Muse and Inspiration!
Snap out of it! Only the least creative souls cannot find fault with such advice. Inspiration is like a drug, and when it fades, despair often takes its place. So many people slowly lose their creative spark by losing themselves to the mundane and incessant demands of daily life. Though I have always wanted to be a writer, a decade of devoting myself to teaching English zapped my writing soul.
Thankfully, opportunity knocked in the form of relocating to the other side of the country for my husband’s dream job. I guess it’s my dream job too, because I now finally have the time to pursue my neglected writing dreams.
I’ve spent the last year and a half reconnecting with that sense of wonder necessary to make me feel the motivation to write. Everything in life is a potential source of inspiration, but a person has to open themselves to the possibilities. I’m not the type of girl that waits for the Muse to find her. Like clockwork, I put my butt in my office chair and get to work!
In short, here are five methods I rely on to find inspiration:
Freewriting: I am trying to break myself of a bad self-editing habit, so freewriting to discover ideas helps. Specifically, I enjoy loop writing, which is a structured form of freewriting where the writer underlines strong lines and then starts a new prompt based on those lines.
Collecting Images: I used to collect photos from National Geographic and laminate them for use in classroom activities. Now I use them to get my creative juices flowing. An online image search can also accomplish the same thing, and my interest in Pinterest is gathering steam.
Overhearing Conversation: During a recent trip to NYC, while being herded like cattle to the top of the Empire State Building, an old woman gripping her walker cried out, “Is this the ride? I thought this was the ride! Is it going to start soon?” Immediately, I wondered, what’s her story?
Finding Objects: My grandmother’s collection of thousands of buttons is one way I trick my brain into wondering what type of character a button would belong to. An abandoned car, a ghost town, a lost baby doll. Everything is just a potential story waiting to happen.
Traveling: Going places is more or less my excuse to take photographs. Digital photos can be endlessly tinkered with, much like words can. I guess I find the world in all its infinite variety and my relative insignificance in it to be oddly comforting
Even with the gift of time afforded by a change in living circumstances, I still found myself at a standstill when it came to starting something new. Could I still write creatively? Would the sentences be clunky? I snapped out of self-doubt by rewriting five of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories and publishing them in an eBook titled Popular Poe Stories in Plain English. I also wrote many blog posts, which surely helped whip me once again find my writing way.
I’m no longer in a big rush to publish, but I am releasing a collection of literary short stories titled Such is Life. The fiction I am most drawn to bears the stamp of literary realism, though my work in progress, Lost Girl Road, is a psychological suspense story set in the woods of northwest Montana. The most helpful realization on my path to finding inspiration again is an awareness that I tend to draw too much from real life at times. Make of my stories what you will.
Basically, after all the much ado about nothing, I’ve found myself feeling creative again when I finally managed let myself go.
Jeri Walker-Bickett was born and raised in Wallace, Idaho, a rough and tumble mining town with a checkered past. The storytelling urge struck at a young age, but an undergraduate degree in writing led to a graduate degree in English education. Between living the scholarship-laden life of an academic bum, she did seasonal work in national parks. Jeri met her future husband in Yellowstone and they later married in Las Vegas. This phase in their lives sparked an obsession with food and travel. Fate has intervened to allow her to take time off from the classroom. Her forthcoming novel, Lost Girl Road, is a ghost story that takes place in the woods of northwest Montana. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and their pets.
Please visit her blog www.jeriwb.com for book reviews, editing services, and progress updates.