What Inspires You to Write?

What inspires you to write?

This week we’re analyzing what gets our Go going as writers. What sparks ideas and bubbles sentences up from our subconscious.

My hope is that by figuring out what inspires me, I can increase those things in my everyday life and thereby increase my creativity. Perhaps you can, too.

After much thought, I’ve landed on three things that inspire me to write.

1. Reading the work of certain writers

There are certain writers whose work inspires me to write. Two in particular: Louise Erdrich and Kim Addonizio. There is something about their use of language and their sense of rhythm that sparks something in my brain, and before I know it, I’m off to my own page, writing my own stories.

Vladimir Nabokov

Conversely, I’ve found that some writers who I enjoy reading also intimidate me to no end as a writer. Nabokov, for example. I love reading his work, but often lament that I will never write so well as him and it leaves me with a sort of ruined feeling.

I read him anyway, though.

Note to self: read Nabokov with an Addonizio chaser.

2. Listening to certain songs

I often listen to music as I write, and will find songs that “feel” like what I’m writing. For example, for a scene in my WiP, I listened to The Cure‘s “Lullaby” on repeat for about an hour, because it had the same creepy feel I wanted to convey in my story. If I hear “Lullaby” on the radio right now, I’m sure my mind will go to work on that scene, replaying it, reshaping it.

Zoe Keating

Likewise, certain songs will spur new ideas for me. One of the first short stories I got published was loosely based on an old Edie Brickell song. A recent flash fiction piece was inspired by a Coldplay song. And it’s not just songs with lyrics that inspire new stories for me. I’m inspired by classical music, movie scores, instrumental music. One artist in particular is cellist Zoe Keating. Her music sets off fireworks in my brain.

Note to self: buy Zoe Keating’s new album.

3. Performing menial household chores

In all seriousness, there are few things that get me writing quicker than doing housework. Maybe it’s just that I’d rather be writing than doing housework, and my brain knows I’ll put down the broom to sit at the keyboard in a nanosecond. But seriously, my husband will attest that when I’m doing the dishes, my brain is somewhere else. I may look like I’m sweeping the floor, but I’m really crafting sentences. You may find me scrubbing the toilet, but really I’m envisioning the next chapter.

I can’t remember who said it now (and Google ain’t helping me out), but I remember one writer saying, “If it weren’t for writer’s block, the dishes would never get done”. And I agree; except the dishes would only get half done at my house because the act of scrubbing somehow loosens up ideas in my brain.

Note to self: clean the house.

So now it’s your turn. What inspires you to write? Do you cultivate these things in your life? And does that increase your creativity?

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