Getting inspired is an artist’s constant struggle; there is always something else to do, somewhere to go and art seems to always come last. I have struggled with this in particular since finishing Latest Mistake last year. I have experienced pockets of inspiration in relation to article writing, blog writing and Wendy’s House but unfortunately nothing seems to last very long usually. So what do I do to try and get inspired and stay on the wave for as long as possible?
Certainly time management comes into play here. Now, this may seem counterintuitive (can you plan being inspired???), however, if I can make time to simply think about writing (let’s say about Wendy and Will’s first meeting) if I can simply imagine it, even without writing any words, I usually feel inspired enough to subsequently go and write some words down. Whether I use these particular notes is irrelevant, it’s just a way for me to flex my writing muscle, get the cogs turning. Ideally I do this as often as possible to get me geared up for a full session.
Music is a great resource, and again, similarly to just thinking about writing, even if I can make time just to listen and think, ideas and words usually find their way to me. I have previously shared the song which inspired the name for Latest Mistake but some other music I turn to include the score to The Hobbit-An Unexpected Journey and the score to Far From the Madding Crowd; New York by Snow Patrol, Get Home and Things We lost in the Fire by Bastille and Afire Love by Ed Sheeran, the list goes on and changes regularly depending on what I’m into; sometimes I don’t know what I’m into and just stumble across songs. In particular, I completely by chance stumbled across Judi Dench singing Send in the Clowns. Her performance was very moving. Sometimes though, I’m not looking for much in term of meaning, sometimes I just need a hit of energy and at the moment I’m really enjoying Coldplay’s Adventure of a Lifetime and This is Home by Bryan Lanning.
The film My Blueberry Nights changed my life once many years ago. I remember sobbing as it articulated perfectly many of my life struggles up until that moment. I adore this film and whenever I watch it, I end up feeling like I have my eyes wide open. The same goes for the film versions of Never Let Me Go, The Time Traveller’s Wife, Far from the Madding Crowd and Pride and Prejudice. Similarly to music though, this list also changes. I discover new films and revisit very old ones to go through this process.
Similarly to my experience of My Blueberry Nights, Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami changed my life also when I gifted it by a former lecturer (if you’re reading this, hello Jose!). The themes are so raw, every word is poignant and it also helped me to articulate my life struggles. Reading is tricky for inspiration though. In no way do I want to imitate another’s style or story, but I can certainly appreciate and be excited by the stories of others. There is a certain level of inspiration that comes from the idea of trying to write something ‘that good’. For this, I immediately think of Stephen King’s Duma Key, which was immense (“That’s what Wireman says”).
This is a strange one to add to the list, but I genuinely believe I do my best writing when my body and mind are in tip top shape. Physically when I feel strong, empowered and fit (I like to run, do yoga and pilates) I feel good about myself and therefore in a good mental state to write. Mindfulness and relaxation are also key here; if I am stressed or anxious, unfortunately this does not bode well for writing freely, with genuine emotion and with meaning.
The idea of all these mediums is to wake me up, to get me in the moment, to stir emotions so that I might use them, channel them, direct them towards making art. In truth, sometimes these work, other times nothing works. But the idea is to throw myself into the void and see what comes out with me. It’s fun stuff. And in my struggle to get over the first chapter hurdle of Wendy’s House, I need to find the inspiration and confidence just to go for it.