Inspiration (March 2012)
My friend Meagan embarked on a new journey about a year ago—to become a full-time writer. Her first book, Choosing to Grow: Through Marriage, was released last spring. The back cover copy begins: “There is an ‘I’ in marriage. I am the wife.” When Meagan’s marriage was in trouble, she began looking for answers anywhere she could find them, including interviewing hundreds of other women over the course of eight years of researching and writing her book. What she found, after all of that searching, was that the answers to a better marriage start and end with herself. I’m inspired by her accountability.
There are three “I’s” in inspiration. That leaves no excuse for lack of inspiration to write a blog post! It’s my job to find my own inspiration, to both be inspired and inspire others. There is plenty of inspiration around us all the time. We just need to pay attention.
For some writers, deadlines conjure inspiration. In one of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, Calvin receives an assignment to write and illustrate a story by the next day. While playing in the yard, Hobbes asks Calvin, “Do you have an idea for your story yet?” Calvin says, “No, I’m waiting for inspiration. You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.” Hobbes asks, “What mood is that?” Calvin answers, “Last-minute panic.”
For others, inspiration comes from connecting with nature. Maybe it’s hearing an early-returning bird chirp on a warm February morning. Or watching Valentine’s Day roses open to velvety blossoms. One day, my son and I hiked to a nearby lake, looking for patterns in nature for his journal. He took pictures of leaves, rippled paths, wooden fence posts, and shadows. Along our walk, we found our initials in the tree branches. How’s that for a personal connection with nature? Thanks trees for saying hi.
A for Alexander
P for Pavlicin
I keep pads of paper around the house. Sometimes I write down a quote from a TV show or movie. For example:
“The point of time is to help you understand where you are, not to make you rush to the next place.”
— old man by the tree, The Cheetah Girls: One World
“The imagination is a powerful tool in self-torture.” —Sheldon, Private Practice
“You have to go back to the beginning in order to understand the end.” —Teddy, Grey’s Anatomy
“Love is layered. Love is a mystery to be uncovered.” —Belle, Once Upon a Time
“Just keep swimming.” —Dory, Finding Nemo
The script writers have, of course, written just the right line for the context of the scene, but I like to pluck out a good line here and there and paste it up on my inspiration board. Reading a single line like one of these can launch a whole new idea or point of view without ever coming back to the line itself.
Even Mars, Inc. gets it. This morning I read “Encourage your sense of daring” inside a Dove chocolate wrapper.
Seeing the world, for just a moment, through a child’s eye is inspiring. The wonder of a bug. The excitement of riding without training wheels. A five-year-old boy in our neighborhood introduced himself to Geno. With a heavy Chicago accent he said, “I lived in Chicago almost my whole life.” Geno asked, “When did you move to Minnesota?” Bruno answered, “When I was two.”
Other writers inspire us, too. People like Kimberley Mills. I’ve never met Kim. I read her post on Wives of Faith and followed the link to her blog. The special thing about writers like Kim or Meagan is not just that they are wonderful writers. What’s special and inspiring is their willingness to be on a journey and to allow themselves to be vulnerable and share their journey with others —the joys and challenges—in a genuine and spirit-filled way. That’s inspiring.
Yes, inspiration is all around us. In the trees, on the screen, in a piece of chocolate, in a child’s perspective, on someone’s blog. Are you searching? Pay attention. Inspiration awaits your notice.
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