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Archive for March, 2014

Inspiration Moves Us

Inspiration Moves Us

 

 

As a writer, I’m asked many times, “Where does your inspiration come from?” This is a very good question, with many possible answers.

 

In thinking about the question, it occurs to me there are different kinds of inspiration. We can be inspired by people, places, or things. We can be inspired by events, or acts of any kind, and nature is inspiring in both its simple and complex designs.

 

Writers, singers, and artists of all mediums claim inspiration for their works. What inspires us is unique to each individual. Inspiration often results in an animating action or reaction. Inspire is a verb; meaning it’s an action word. It causes a person to do, think, act, or believe differently than before the inspiration occurred. It honestly doesn’t matter what inspires a person. The important thing is that the person feels deeply affected by the experience, and for artists, sometimes results in the creation of something new.

 

For me, inspiration comes in many forms. People can inspire me profoundly. Seeing others tackle their fears and overcoming them, inspires me to examine my own fears and overcome them. Events can inspire me and have a huge impact on how I view myself and the world around me. Watching the news and hearing of acts of altruism and humane behaviours by others makes me want to reach out and help too. Nature is also extremely inspirational for me. I never cease to be inspired when walking along a long sandy beach, through a deep green forest, or watching animals in their habitat. Places of great beauty, architecture, and art inspire me. A sunset or sunrise touches me deeply. I become humbled by the beauty of art and the talent of the artist, and sometimes they inspire me to reach inside myself, and have confidence in whatever small talent I may possess. To honour the things that inspire me, I have chosen to live in area that’s close to the water, is surrounded by tall trees, and I decorate my home with various reminders of things and people I love.

 

WritingWhen I write a story, I draw on everything that inspires me. I pull from the depths of my own experiences when I write my characters, places and events, even if the story has a fantastical element to it, or is set centuries in a past I could never know. At any time I might be inspired by something and think what a great story that would make. Ultimately, I am intrigued and inspired by the human condition and the world we inhabit.

 

Even when researching a story for characters, places, and events, I become inspired by the facts I read. I am fascinated by regular people who accomplish great feats. I readily admit to being in love with the life altering forces of love. I’ve begun to realize we all have the power to make significant changes to our lives, the lives of others, and the world in which we live. I guess that’s why I allow my characters to follow their dreams, and act in ways which cause them to question and grow. I encourage failure as a means to discover the successes, and in order to appreciate those successes.

 

Recently I was speaking with a woman who commented “Well, all we can do is try to survive.” That comment upset me and caused me to immediately reply, “Not really. We also need to dream and strive to achieve something better.”

 

Now, this woman had grown up extremely poor, and was born in a country that didn’t offer much in the way of education or opportunity, so she’d learned to keep her head down and survive. That’s an important lesson when in crisis. But she also left that country, married, had a child, and kept striving to improve her family’s financial circumstances. Even though she didn’t give her actions credit, something must have inspired her to accomplish each of those things. Otherwise, she’d have stayed where she was and kept plodding along.

 

When I listen to people like Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, or anyone for that matter, who encourages change and the belief that we are all capable of acting on our inspirations, I am inspired. I begin to look forward to the challenges of walking my own road, and finding who I’m supposed to be. I love hearing it when others talk of finding that same burning desire; the desire to do more than survive.

 

Writing is a notoriously difficult road to walk. It can often feel lonely. The writer sometimes feels misunderstood by family and friends. The path to becoming published is far from easy, no matter whether the writer decides to work with traditional publishers, or opts to self-publish. It’s damned hard work. It takes a very long time, and there isn’t always a gold star at the end of the day. But when inspiration strikes, the writer, as with any artist, is compelled to share it with others. Why? Who knows? I certainly don’t claim to have the answers. I just know that, for me, it feels right. It feels the most like “me” than anything else I do with my waking hours.

 

What I know, is that someday I hope to inspire others to follow their own dreams and succeed at whatever it is they feel is their purpose in life. I don’t care if it’s walking on the moon, being the best teacher they can be, or dedicating their life to their family. It doesn’t matter. We are all driven by needs that are separate and apart from money and “surviving”. It gets mixed up in our childhood experiences, in our own perceptions of the world, and who we believe we are. Life isn’t easy. It’s not supposed to be. But it constantly ebbs and flows with new experiences, new opportunities, and new tomorrows.

 

timeNone of knows how long we have on this earth, but I’m inspired many times a day, if I seek inspiration, to make the most of what time I do have. I have many, many dreams for my future, and sometimes wish I’d discovered this path I’m on years ago. Because I’m already in my mid-fifties, I worry I won’t get to do all the things I want to accomplish, write all the stories I’d like to write, and visit all the places I’d like to see. But that’s not up to me. What’s up to me is how I use my days, how I treat the people around me, and whether or not I continue to seek and act on inspiration. As for the rest, I guess I’ll just have to trust that whatever the future holds, it’ll be enough.

 

Please take a few moments to comment and share this with your social networks. Tell me, what inspires you and what do you do about it?

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Teeter Totter of Life

Teeter Totter of Life

Anyone who has been following my blog over the past few weeks knows I’ve been in a state of transition as I try to find a balance between life and work. My husband and I took a chance on new a job, moved to a new   city, then discovered very quickly, like within weeks, we’d made a mistake. The job simply didn’t suit us or what we were looking for at this time in our lives. Not only that, but the long hours and exhaustion kept me from my writing for almost a full month. This separation from my passion caused me more than a little anxiety.

 

I once heard Oprah advise; let every experience teach you something new. I learned a great deal about myself and my personal needs through this most recent venture.  I learned to appreciate what we already had, the importance of spending time with family and friends, and my need to find time to write daily. I also learned I don’t need a lot to be happy, or comfortable. I learned my time has real value to me in ways I’d never considered before. It also confirmed for me that making mistakes is all right, so long as you learn the lesson(s) and move on.

 

I know the company that hired us wasn’t thrilled with our decision to leave so quickly, but my husband and I both felt strongly that it was better to cut our losses, and theirs, sooner rather than later. No need to flog that horse. Moving twice in one month took a tremendous physical and emotional toll on us both, but it felt like the right thing to do. I was reminded to trust my instincts, and my instincts were telling me to re-group and get back to being “me”. That job didn’t feel like “me”.

 

Whenever I’ve tried to do things that didn’t feel quite right, I’ve made mistakes and been unhappy. I should know that by now, but I guess we all discount that niggling voice that whispers, “this isn’t right for you”. We rationalize all the reasons to discount that voice, and too often move toward, not from, the source of negative energy. For me it felt like wearing an overcoat that was two sizes too large. It felt bulky and heavy. It didn’t warm me, or make me feel secure. But that’s okay. Sometimes trying new things allows us to discover what we don’t want, which is as important as discovering what we do want. I knew that, but apparently I had to be taught – again.

 

Being Me

Being Me

Now, I’m back where I belong. I’m close to family and friends again, and I don’t regret taking a chance on something new. It has taught me much, and reminded me of more that I already knew. It confirmed for me that writing is my future, and for now, if I take on another job to help pay the bills and fund my writing career where needed, that’s okay too. I know I’ll get where I’m going, and I’ll meet some really great people along the way.

 

In the meantime, I’ve been working diligently with my publisher on the release of my second book, In The Spirit Of Forgiveness to get it released. We finally hit on the right cover art, which was so exciting, but it’s been a long process. It should be up on the website within a couple of days, so do stop over there and check it out. I’m not a particularly patient person, so I guess I’m having to learn the importance of patience as well.

 

I’m also in the midst of working on the next project, a fact-based historical fiction that I’m really, really excited about. Writing this book is teaching me so much about the past, about people who made a difference in their time, and about the tremendous importance of love. I didn’t think I’d enjoy doing the research which would allow me to blend fact and fiction, but I’ve discovered that I love it. Researching facts about the people in the story, the political and social climate of Europe in the 1800s, and breathing new life into a story that was destined to be told has infused me with a new level of excitement. I’m now pulling together the pieces of lives of real people who defied conventions of the day and were determined to see their vision for themselves and the future of their country realized. In doing so, it hits home once again how important it is to hold true to my beliefs, and fight for what I know is right for me.

 

A Journey Worth Walking

A Journey Worth Walking

It’s been said many times before that writing is a journey, and it’s leading me down paths I’m eager to explore. Around each corner I wonder, what next? There is so much work ahead, but I can’t wait to share what I’m discovering with my readers. Excitement and challenge are important to me. They drive me as nothing else. I’m grateful to my husband, who listens patiently while I go on and on about people and places from over a century ago. I’m grateful to my mother, who encourages me to seek and delve even deeper into myself and my work, and shares her own memories of a place I’ve never seen, her homeland of Denmark.

 

So, I’m continually learning what’s important to me, to my life, to my career as a writer. What have you learned recently about what’s important to you and your life? Please do take a moment to reply in the comments section, and share this post on social networks.

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The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

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