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Motivate Your Muse: What Inspires You to Write?

02/12/2010
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“For hundreds of years, people have talked about artists having inspiration, but often, some client would say, write us a symphony or write us a song, on commission. The artists would come up with a masterpiece without waiting to have their muse inspire them.” Tom Glazer

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs

Inspired: Church of Saint Etienne Le-Vieux in Caen, France...

There are many analogies out there on writing but one I like is by Moliere; “Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.” I like this quote because I find that, invariably, every writer/blogger ends up with a burning desire to make something more of their craft; yours truly included. I love writing and enjoy the camaraderie of connecting and sharing comments. I also like the idea of earnings. Sometimes, we have to motivate our muse if the creative spark is in a lull. It is all part of the process…

At different stages in our journey, writing for love, connections and more, we reach a place where we do want to be compensated for what we do; get published, give presentations, share insights in a forum and more… There’s nothing wrong with that goal, as one doesn’t negate the other… But it all begins with the joy of writing. Writing is both therapeutic and trying; we plod away with the hope that the next piece would be better … even perfect. It keeps us writing.

When I think about my writing history, I find myself flashing back to my childhood days when writing and storytelling were creative pursuits without an underlying agenda. I enjoyed writing because I loved the written word. I still do. I fancied myself as a world traveling arbiter of good taste and exotic deals, and I imagined inhabiting worlds that were something right out of the Arabian Nights, Disney, or even a modern day version of Cinderella. Life would be a constant celebration.

My parents encouraged me to write but they were not the first ones to nudge me about developing my craft. When I was in elementary school, I had a teacher; we’ll call her Miss Faith, who thought I had some good stories in me. She would often make me share my writing assignments in class and while I didn’t think much of the pieces I wrote then, my classmates were extremely supportive.

I wrote poetry and short stories; mainly about characters that loathed injustice and used their supernatural powers to conquer evil. My stories rarely had weak women in them and sometimes the plot and story lines were quite preposterous…. But I wrote anyway. I loved to write.

When a bully in my class tried to make my life miserable, I included him in my writings and shared it in class much to his surprise. I recognized, pretty early, that the pen can be mightier than the sword and that some would wield it like a sharp weapon; a harpoon waiting to skewer the competition or a formidable opponent once and for all. Thankfully, skewering is not the path I have chosen to follow.

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those, who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in the human condition” Graham Greene

Inspired Bounty Drives...

At different points in my life, writing terrified me… I had all the classic symptoms of Writer’s Block and a tad beyond that. When I stopped writing, the time off was a blessing. I believed it was a good thing because … who wants to read another 600 pages of dog poop?

I say I stopped writing because I went from writing daily, for my own joy, to not writing at all for a few years. Perhaps, I was spent. Or maybe my muse ran off with a handsome man in the shape of my deepest fantasy… I don’t know. What I do know is that one day, I woke up and had nary a poetic thought in my head, let alone at the tip of my pen.
I don’t know how others cope with the seepage that periodically occurs in our creative life, I just know what I did. I closed the door for a while and got on with living. I suppose I could say that, during that phase of my life, nothing inspired me… Nada. This brings me back to the prompts for today’s assignment.

Mama's Losin' It

The Prompts:
1.) Have you ever had a fight with a long time best friend and never made up? Do you think about her from time to time and think about contacting her? What would you say? What if it didn’t work out? What if it did?
2.) The perfect fall photo…share a picture that defines fall for you in your neck of the woods.
3.) CONTROVERSY! Are the new security measures performed by the TSA really that bad? Take a stance!
4.) What inspires you to write?
5.) “If you could relive any moment in your life, what moment would you choose? Write about it.”

MamaKat has offered an excellent selection of topics and I could easily write on all five… but that’s not the point. The point is the pressing question: What inspires you to write?

Inspiration comes in many ways; a simple prayerful thought can be as compelling to write about as an everyday emotionally charged event, or an innocuous aside made or heard at a dinner party or in a local restaurant. I would say that I write because I must; not only because my impressed higher self has come calling. I enjoy the process of writing from a prompt, a single word, quote or conversation. I find inspiration in the mundane as well as in the beauty of nature, in music, art or simply in life… I love writing and I enjoy the creative process of writing; even when the tank runs low sometimes and I have to nudge my muse and dig for a nugget. 🙂

I find I do my most creative work late at night when everything and everyone is quiet, and all I hear is the soft hum of the refrigerator. I think and work better at night. I know we talk about the muse and how fluid our words and ideas become once we’ve tapped into some barrel of creative bliss; I know we can and do write and create whether the muse is nearby or not. We keep working on perfecting our craft with intentions to connect with others, grow our community, and earn some shekels down the road… I know I do. I am following my heart…

What inspires you to write? Do Share.

Positive Motivation Tip: Sooner or later, we must listen to the message from the steady drum beating in our hearts. What does it say? Listen…

PHOTO CREDITS:
Eglise Saint Etienne Le Vieux from my collection.
Orange Pumpkins via National Geographic

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank

12 Comments leave one →
  1. 02/12/2010 11:41 pm

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs – thanks for sharing this! love it

    • 03/12/2010 8:42 pm

      Thank you for stopping by and for your comment … I liked this quote when I read it… Perfect that it comes from Steve of Apple, Inc fame… Our success demands we listen to our inner voice… 🙂
      Happy Holidays!
      Elizabeth

  2. 03/12/2010 2:46 am

    I can relate to losing my muse for art. I had no formal training but it was something I knew I had a gift for. Some teachers in high school were supportive. But when I was raising my family I suppressed. It was too much trouble to paint with small children around, so I used decorating and crafts as an outlet for 25 years. Then one day my art was screaming to come out.
    That year I asked my family for only art supplies as gifts for any occasion, and they gladly provided them. That was about 15 years ago and I’ve been dabbling in many different mediums ever since.
    Writing was a surprise for me. I don’t believe I’m that great at writing, but I’m pretty good at story telling, so that’s what I do most of the time.
    As always a thought provoking post! Thanks.
    and how did you get the snowflakes on your screen?? cool idea!

    • 03/12/2010 8:44 pm

      You have had an impressive history and I am happy for you that you corralled your muse and have pursued your love for art. 🙂
      The snow came through a WordPress app. I selected show snow and viola! 🙂
      Bravo!
      Elizabeth

  3. 03/12/2010 6:02 am

    Hi Elizabeth, I’m glad to see your muse has found her way home. Since I was old enough to start defining myself by what I do, I’ve been a visual artist, a trained singer of classical and operatic music, a poet, a writer, in short, an artist. At this age I feel I am the writer/poet. There were lots of in between times when I was off my way, and lost. When creativity would find me again I would straighten out somehow.(BTW, I love the snowflakes!) I must have quiet to write. It’s funny when I write , the word write themselves in my head and usually in the accent of another language or dialect, like British or Jamaican, sometimes from the mind of a male. And it just happens ion it’s own, like that person is telling the story and I’m just the scribe,I hear her telling me the words to write. Funny, huh?, Well, I’m glad I stopped by to visit, let’s trade thoughts more often. Thanks, Joan

    • 03/12/2010 8:46 pm

      Oh Joan, you are cherished and brilliant… I follow my muse and then I work at the rest when she/he’s asleep. LOL!
      I appreciate the work you do and our connection is blessed. 🙂
      I was away for a while and have slowly begun to reconnect with this work. Let’s stay connected.
      Happy Holidays!
      Elizabeth

  4. Bree permalink
    03/12/2010 6:41 am

    I love the idea of motivating our muse to support our efforts and writing because we must.
    There is so much hype these days about capturing this and getting that and we forget that it is okay to just be, do and enjoy.
    Sure, the shekels help us but, like you suggest, doing and enjoying the work matters too.
    By the way, I read somewhere that blogging is passe and that those who blog regardless of the hype will survive and keep doing it. Interesting right?
    Love this post; inspiring and insightful.

    • 03/12/2010 8:47 pm

      My sentiments exactly…. Thanks again for all your support.
      We all must follow our hearts calling. Be blessed!
      Happy Holidays!
      Elizabeth

  5. 05/12/2010 4:57 am

    I think you’re on to something when it comes to writing blogs for someone else rather than the joy of writing.

    So sad.

    It’s really nice to get positive feedback, I have to admit I love it when people comment on my blog posts. However, I don’t want to stray from being who I really am and writing for fun and for a creative outlet.

    A hard balance for sure!

    • 05/12/2010 3:20 pm

      Thank you for stopping by Linda. I enjoyed reading your comment.
      I love writing and enjoy the camaraderie of connecting and sharing comments… true.
      However, at different stages in our journey, we reach a place were we do want to be
      compensated for what we do; get published, give presentations, share insights in a forum and more…
      It is all part of the process… one doesn’t negate the other… But it all begins with the joy of writing.
      Happy Holidays! 🙂
      E

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