A friend asked me where I find inspiration for all these blogs that I write on. That question has many answers. For posts on my blog about threatened and endangered animals and other things, I’m reading environmental and nature books, magazines and websites. For this site, inspiration comes from all directions – poetry, novels, non-fiction, TV, radio podcasts, the news, movies, art, music, and other bloggers.
How can you not find inspiration in looking up at the blue sky or the night sky of stars and be inspired to consider the vastness of the universe or the small role we play in it and the big role we play on Earth?
But the answer my friend was expecting was more like “the shower.” I know what he means. This post was inspired by his comment which I was thinking about while taking a shower. I find that I get a lot of ideas and inspiration for my writing and also for things I need or want to do. What is it about taking a shower that inspires?
Once inspired to write, I either have to do more thinking and often I need to do research. As a student, I never liked research papers. As a teacher, I saw that my students usually had the wrong ideas about research. I always asked them to think about the kinds of research they did before making a major purchase (appliances, car, home) or even the research you might do before picking a movie to see.
Let’s take that simple movie decision as an example. You might read reviews, watch a trailer, or ask friends for their opinions. If you ask others for their opinions on a current film – let’s say it’s Toy Story 4 – you will likely get positive and negative responses. I looked at the reviews for the film currently on RottenTomatoes.com. They are overwhelmingly positive. But what if a few of your friends gave it a negative review? Who holds more weight with you – friends or “professional” critics? What if one friend says it is lousy but hasn’t seen it? Another friend did see it and hated it. He also hated all the earlier Toy Story films. One critic loves the first three films and thinks that number 4 is even better because it has more for adults to love. All these reviews are research and you need to be pretty discriminating in sifting through those reviews. Are you inspired to see the film?
Back to that original friend’s question about inspiration. Besides that watery shower inspiration, I find inspiration when I walk, when I am out in nature, when I am alone, when I am driving, and more so in the night hours than in the morning ones. I’m not alone in finding those activities as inspirational. I found posts online (like this one) that mention some of the same activities. People suggest daily inspirations. I get the feeling people are sometimes looking for inspiration to live, to continue, to battle adversity. I’m not looking for that in the shower or on my walk in the woods. I am more in search of the spark. That trigger that sends me to the computer or my camera or my journal or my paintbox and easel.
Travel and big experiences can certainly be inspiring, but you can’t do that every day. On a daily basis, I look for those smaller sparks: How the movement of the planet and stars can remind me that I too am flying through the universe; how my samples of blue watercolors will inspire me to write about a sad friend.