Inspiration, Distractions, and Writing Novels

Inspiration is a fabulous, fabulous thing.  (You may notice that I use fabulous or other forms of the word a lot.  I LOVE IT!!!  Also, I feel kind of like Sharpay from High School Musical and I’m not sure why…)  Why?  Psh, as if you didn’t already know!!!  Inspiration is the root of creativity!  Where paintings and good books and innovative ideas are born!  I’m using a lot of exclamation points and I don’t know why!  Oh, wait, yeah I do!  BECAUSE INSPIRATION MAKES ME SUPEREXCITED.  I greatly appreciate a good dose of inspiration.

You may have noticed that inspiration comes at the most unlikely times, and sometimes the most unconventional times.  Like when you’re sitting in the bath tub and have to pen and paper.  Or when you’re in French class doing a group activity.  Or, when you’re entertaining guests.  Dang, I hate that.  No?  Just me then?  All right…

Well here’s my theory anyway, even if you don’t know what I’m talking about.  Inspiration will continue to plague you at very inconvenient times unless…  Okay, hang on, not necessarily PLAGUE because that word has a bad sort of connotation.  But it will continue to come to you when you’re not ready for it:  UNLESS.  UNLESS.  You go looking for adventure!  Not even adventure, in the strictest terms…  But a change of scenery!  Bring a notebook, a sketch pad, or these days, all you need is you iPhone with all its handy note and camera apps.  I, however, am a little more old-fashioned.  (Not to say I wouldn’t take my laptop to a local café avec un café et un morceau de gâteau or anything…)  Take a walk.  Find a new bench at the park.  Stroll around with no intention of going anywhere specific.  Try out a new café.  Or, what I’ve always wanted to do, is get on a train or subway (preferably train.  I do have a thing for trains…) and buy a ticket in the morning and get off when I feel like and spend a night in some hotel and come back the next morning.  I don’t know if you can even BUY train tickets like that… I think they’re very adament that you pick a specific destination…

Anyway.  Another key to inspiration is DISTRACTIONS!  Please read that again in a British accent.  And then again in an Irish accent.  AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN UNTIL YOU GET IT.  Yes.  Distractions.  Distractions are almost as fabulous as INSPIRATION ITSELF!  If you’re intent on writing you research paper, and don’t stop writing even though you’re stuck and the last three paragraphs you wrote are total CRAP, then STOP.  And get up from that computer desk, and just walk away.  Walk out your front door if you think that will help.  Read a book.  Play with your cat.  Make a cake.  Post on your blog.

And I’m honestly not just saying this to give MYSELF an excuse to stop writing my Epigenetics paper (even though that’s what this post kind of is…), I honestly think this helps.  When you’re half dead and completely sick of writing an essay, distract yourself.  Think of other things.  Update your Twitter or Pin a few things onto your Food♥ board, even if it’s just for five minutes.  Then, when you go back to writing your paper, it’s like a fresh start and you have new thoughts and ideas RUSHING THROUGH YOUR WIRED BRAIN BECAUSE YOU CHOSE TO WALK TO THE COFFEE SHOP AND GET A TRIPLE-SHOT ESPRESSO WHILE YOU WERE TAKING A BREAK FROM YOUR ESSAY.  Maybe.  I hope that is the case.  Because having too many ideas is better than having none, because you can always save these excess ideas for later!  But write them down quickly, because I am pretty sure that I have shirt term memory loss and forget things very quickly and easily.

Also, distractions make you feel like you have more time.  If it’s nine thirty PM and your paper is due at midnight to your professor and you’re making a complicated orange chiffon cake*, then you’re like “Hah, if I have time to make a cake before I write my paper, then I must have EXTRA time.”  (DISCLAIMER:  this can also be harmful, because you  might actually start to believe yourself and turn in your paper late… So don’t hallucinate TOO realistically.)

And you never know, you may end up writing an award-winning novel while you were supposed to be writing a paper on genetic inheritance…

Good Luck!

*I have this really awesome recipe for an Orange Chiffon Cake that is pretty much the best thing ever.  I will tell you, I am a definite chocolate fiend, but I MIGHT just love this cake even more than a classic choc-o-lat cake.  I’m getting the feeling that maybe that will be a future blog…

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2 thoughts on “Inspiration, Distractions, and Writing Novels

  1. Pingback: Ideas: Poppers, Growers and Oh My Godders! When novels are born. | robsparkeswriting

    • Rob– I read your blog post and I thought it was rather fabulous. I really like your ideas about writing and, well, ideas! And I know exactly how it is to lose the BESTIDEAYOUVEEVERHAD only to retrieve it a minute later but you STILL haven’t managed to find a writing utensil… Also, my mind seems to work in a visual way, as you said your’s did. i see pictures, sometime bits of ‘movies’ that play in my head, or a dialogue or quote that a certain character should say, which is less of a visual thing i guess, but I think you get the picture… But lucky you, you’ve gotten to experience TWO “Oh My Godders!” I’m still waiting around to experience one, though I highly doubt that that is the best way to come across such miraculous ideas, if you will. By the way, I read your short story, “A Stranger in the Night.” One thing I really liked about it was how you waited a while to reveal the fact that it was indeed a first person POV, no the 3rd i had originally thought it to be. It was a very clever story, and I really liked the ambiguous ending. Thanks again for sharing your post!

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