With an established writing routine—writing every day no matter what—I don’t wait for inspiration to put words down on the page. It’s a luxury I don’t have, especially as I’m getting older and time seems to be passing by quickly. Plus the fact that I have a day job and try to make the most of my mornings at home. Yet there are things that do inspire me to write, and that help fill my creative stores. Today, I want to share a few.
There are certain artists, and their works, that I marvel at. Jean-Paul Riopelle, Lawren Harris, and Andy Warhol to name a few. A trip to a local art gallery to see their works, and others, always lifts me up and makes me excited to create again. When I was a flight attendant, I spent a lot of time in London (UK). I loved visiting Tate Modern, where I could take in exciting modern and contemporary art. I also had (for one year) a membership to the National Gallery. Now, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is my go-to destination when I’m looking for a little artistic inspiration.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I spent a lot of time writing in cafés. I loved exploring cities and searching for unique cafés where I could enjoy a latte and write. For years, my morning routine was get up, shower and dress, and then head to a café. That all changed with the pandemic, and now I spend less time writing in cafés. During the summer months, however, I try to find a café where I can write outside. Cafés inspired my creativity because I love to people watch and eavesdrop on the conversations colliding around me. Sometimes it’s something that someone says that sparks a story idea, or informs how I can shape a character.
Since I started running in 2008, being out on the trail has inspired lots of story ideas and characters. I’ve mentioned before that running is, for me, a form of mediation. Running, I can clear my mind and listen to life speak to me. Running lets me collect ideas that I can park and come back to later.
We all have dreams and goals, and we must show up and do the work…even when we don’t want to. What we cannot afford is to wait for inspiration to do the thing that we must do. If you have any doubt, remember the words of Pablo Picasso: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
So, get to work.