Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bramkamp: Why Is Inspiration So Difficult?

Catharine Bramkamp

Guest Post: Start your writers' conference learning now with a series of guest blog posts from some of the conference faculty. This guest post comes from Joyce Wycoff, conference program guide, author of a young adult fantasy novella, Sarana’s Gift and a specialty journal, Gratitude Miracles, the 5-minute journal that could change everything!

Guest Post: Start your writers' conference learning now with a series of guest blog posts from some of the conference faculty. This guest post comes from Catharine Bramkamp, author of 15 books, co-producer of Newbie Writers Podcast that focuses on newer writers and their concerns, dynamic writing coach and Chief Storytelling Officer for Winesecrets.

How do you get inspired? 

And why is it so difficult to wrestle that inspiration into words let alone into something as coherent as a poem or a novel or a self-help book?  And how do you court inspiration?

Part of the problem we have with inspiration  is that inspiration is often depicted in cartoons or novels or film  as fun, fast and fantastic.  The lightbulb pops up over a character’s head at exactly the right time (thus moving the plot along).  It is delivered in a song, it floats down to characters during a dreamy afternoon paddling on a lake, it is easy.

So what the heck, right?  What if we don’t sing, and there is no lake nearby, and the only light bulb I have access to is on my emoji keyboard.
Inspiration does not necessarily work like magic. But it does work. Inspiration, delivered by a perverse Muse often arrives at seriously  inconvenient times, like when you are driving. Or when you are scrubbing the toilet.

Here’s the good news:  Most of us drive, and we all have toilets.

Inspiration is often not up to you. It is, I believe, a product of successful courting of the capricious  Muse.  Inspiration is often a result of input: books, films, theater, conversation.  Inspiration comes when you’ve learned so much, the material finally reaches critical mass and you get inspired.
While you are negotiating heavy traffic.

Often you think - nowNow you visit me, oh Muse, who is not paying attention to my daily schedule.
And the Muse puts her hands on her hips and says, “Well do you want it or not?  Because there’s a guy in the lane behind you who will take this great idea and run with it if you are too lazy to pull out a napkin from Starbucks and that pencil stub from yesterday’s golf game and scribble this down."

And, so you do.

And because you stuffed your brain with images and ideas and both good literature, great literature and bad literature, you are prepared to know what it is, what the difference is, and you see that yes, yes, it’s original and wonderful and inspired.

That’s often how it works.  So read something, watch something.  Go scrub the toilet.  If you don’t get inspired for your writing - at least the bathroom is clean.

To learn more.
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The theme is, Catharine Bramkamp, thank god there is only one of me.

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