I belong to a few writing groups online. So many people don’t know where to get “ideas”. I literally have a shopping bag of ideas. I have a Milanote app FULL of ideas. I have a journal and the Notepad in my project management software with ideas in it. I have notebooks and notebooks of story sketches, snippets of dialog, thoughts, quotes, plans and things that occurred to me in the shower. The thing about ideas is they’re worthless on their own. Unless you have the time, the interest and the resources to pursue them, they’re not worth the two brain cells that hold them or the ink on the page where you wrote them down. They’re nothing. I have literally hundreds of ideas. I can give you five ideas for free if you are interested.
What I don’t have is the inspiration to work on the vast majority of them. Most of them are half-baked and in no way formed. Many of them have no clear next step to take. Sometimes the clear next step is something I have no interest in doing, so I don’t. A few of them obviously aren’t viable for me to take on. Some of them are honestly hare-brained schemes. I have ideas for what to write about, but I’m not sure I have the thing it takes to make the good stories worth telling. I always have a couple of ideas but I’m never sure where they are going.
Inspiration though, that’s the stuff that gets me to act on my ideas. That’s what I get from people, other writers, art galleries, books, museums, the internet, and other things I love. Inspiration gives me superpowers. Inspiration is energy. Inspiration makes me put one foot in front of the other until the thing is created. Inspiration is the thing that makes me want to write. It’s the part that needs to tell the story. I’ve got hundreds of stories to tell, but I need fire to make me want to do anything about it.
My idea for the year is to just consume inspiration. I have a bunch of junk thoughts and throwaway ideas but nothing that could be considered a cohesive body of work. I want to work on cool shit. I want to watch and read and absorb realness. My Inspiration often comes from watching other people create or in their conversations about what and how they create.
The past inspires me. This should be no surprise to anyone who has read my stuff, given that most of my ideas come from my own past. People who do everything better than me inspire me. People who don’t have formal education or credentials or an academy backing them up, but know their stuff and do the work inspire me. Being terrified of the first draft but doing it anyway that’s fucking inspiring. Not being afraid to run with an idea even if it might go nowhere or amount to nothing is also damn inspiring. Women who carve out their space in the world and being absolutely unapologetic for taking up that space give me life.
My friends inspire me. Movies, TV shows, great works of journalism, literature, and music. Podcasts, people who teach DIY skills, photographers, good bartenders, screenwriters, playwrights, songwriters, musicians, composers, directors and cinematographers, costume designers, makeup artists, drag queens, wig makers, milliners and dancers are all sources of “get up and do that thing” for me. People who share what they’ve done; fiber artists, sculptors, painters, bead workers, potters, cartoonists, candle makers, seamsters, union leaders, actors, activists, teenagers with an Instagram account, a Sephora VIB card, and a bit of fashion design knowledge they picked up on YouTube… all of these give me the energy to start and keep creating.
I had bigger plans for just about everything in my life but, this being the month that my left leg and back just quit working, my body had different ideas. I must face that many of the plans, the hopes, the ideas are past their usefulness or obsolete or impossible under the circumstances. This year means changing the plan so I can make great things and learn so much it will be awesome. I’m working really hard at finding my appropriate outlet (s).
Also, bourbon can really fuel my creative inspiration sometimes.