A new blogging friend recently asked me a few questions, one of them being about where I got my inspiration. My answer was:
It probably sounds cliché, but everything. Something will inspire a story that just needs to come out and writing is the way I get it out.
I’m a big fan of a certain quote by Ray Bradbury: “If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape.”
I really do believe we can gain inspiration by stuffing ourselves full of life and story in all its many forms.
Don’t worry, I’m not the major quote today. 😉 Let’s talk about dry spells—more commonly known as writer’s block. What this quote suggests and what I truly believe is if we’re constantly consuming story in all its various forms we’re teaching our brains both how to gather inspiration and how to construct it into story.
That brings us to today’s quote from Terry Pratchett (and apologies to my California friends):
There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.
I think losing your ability to write can come if you let the source material feeding your imagination dry up. It’s very much like a lush garden that needs care. It may survive for some time without nourishment, but eventually it will dry up if left unattended. So for those of you believing you don’t have time to read/watch/study/etc. because you’re busy writing—make the time.
Take a break if you have to. Schedule it in if you need to. But make time for nourishment. It will always make you a better writer and often it will keep you away from becoming cliché.
Just don’t stop nourishing.
Do you agree with Mr. Pratchett? Have you let your lush garden dry up before? What did you do to nourish your imagination back to health? Or what are you currently doing to help your storytelling mind stay fresh? Let us know in the comments below.