Friday, June 12, 2020

What Inspires Me To Write?

Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life


" Don't forget—no one else sees the world the way you do,
so no one else can tell the stories you have to tell. "
CHARLES DE LINT



What inspires you to write? This was one of the questions a writing colleague posed to me in a short interview a couple of years ago. She required short responses for the article she was writing, but I found her questions opened a floodgate of musing that I wanted to explore further. I recently came across my notes with her questions and my responses and thought I should do something with them. How about a nice Friday post? So, today it is something a little out of the usual; I do hope you will enjoy.


" Poetry (writing) comes to me like breathing. I inhale and breathe
in the fragrances, flavors, emotions, sentiments, and feelings
of people and places and breathe out poetry (writing). "
AVIJEET DAS 



Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful World


1. What is your main source of inspiration for your writing?


In a word, it is Beauty, in all its many forms: beauty in the natural created world, beauty in the creative handiwork of people, and beauty in the simple pleasures and details of every day life. I am always on the look out for what I term glimpses of heaven in unexpected places. These gifts make me feel alive. They make me sing. And they fuel my desire to write.

The beauty of the natural world - I often think of Vincent Van Gogh and how he once sat looking out his window at a 'watery twilight, a thin lamp post, a star', and how he suddenly longed to share it with his brother, so he sketched it in a letter he was writing at the time. I look at the natural world around me and marvel at all that is beautiful in it. Like the artist, I have a longing to share what I see and experience. I want to show you so we can delight and marvel together at what is around us.

The creative handiwork of other people - Whether it's poetry, beautiful prose, music (playing, singing or composing), art, crafts and needlework, architecture, photography, landscape and garden design, I get more creative in my own work when I soak in the artistic beauty of others. Certain turns of phrases, unusual words, fresh ideas, photos set in ways I had not considered before – these set my imagination on fire. My beauty loving friend, Sandra, said yesterday on her Facebook, 'You never know whose heart you might be inspiring'. How true.

The beauty in the details of our ordinary lives - I am always on the lookout for what makes life beautiful for me in the smallest details of everyday life. Even something as small as watching the lace curtain catch the summer breeze at an open window—this billowing beauty catches my breath and sends my fingers scurrying to the keyboard.


Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

2. What is your key to inspiration?


Definitely quiet time and solitude to be alone with my own thoughts. I need that quiet space to let my thoughts drift and wander. To think about what I really want to say about a certain subject. It takes time alone to get to the nub of things.

I spend time being quiet to read my Bible and other inspirational books, to meditate and listen for the still small voice of Jesus speaking in my heart. Many years ago, I used to always ask the Lord what He wanted me to say. And then one day He started turning the question back to me: What's in your heart, what do you want to say? At first I was upset about this, because I'd always been taught in the tradition that we lay down our lives and let him live through us. But he began to show me that He wanted me to grow and develop and the way to do that was through being allowed to think and create and dream what my heart desired. So He and I work in tandem now. Sometimes there are things He wants me to say, and I'll feel those times gently or strongly as the need may be. Other times, I just run with what's beating inside my own heart and mind. And, sometimes I don't know what to say, and He's there to help me with that too.


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

3. What places do you turn to for inspiration that always works?


٭My favourite coffee shop that's alive with conversations, clattering cups, the fragrance of coffee hanging in the air, people reading books and writing in their notebooks or keyboards. There is a cheerfulness to the place that lifts me up. Hopefully one day soon we can return to that environment.

٭Spending a couple of hours at the library with a notebook and pen or my iPad (depending if I want to hand write or type). Surrounded by books and patrons (in the pre-Covid days), I feel excited to sink my teeth into getting something written. 

٭Taking a morning or evening walk that leads to the pond where I can sit a moment and let the peacefulness wash over me.

٭Sitting at my desk in my study. I love being surrounded by my pens, paper, and inspiring books, looking out the windows that overlooks my back garden filled with trees and flowers. This is probably my favourite spot in our house any season of the year. My desk is here, my books are here, my window to the world is here, my computer is here—I am in my happy place.

٭Browsing through my collection of beautiful and creative magazines that are filled with wonderful photography, artwork, catchy titles, and fascinating quotes in the sidebars. Magazines like Victoria, The English Home, Fine Gardening, Romantic Homes, Country Home, and La Vie Claire. Although I'm not a quilter or a painter or woodworker, I will browse magazines from other genres, because inspiration crosses over.

٭Going to a museum or art gallery. I marvel at how creative people really are, and my own inspiration levels rise exponentially. I want to go and do likewise.



Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

4. Have you ever paired random words or other ‘odd’ methods for inspiration?


I guess one thing that might be a little odd is that I will often imagine my favourite authors in their studios working on a project. I do like learning about how writers work and what their creative spaces are like.* I feel a creative kinship in that, and I also feel a certain delight. For, even if time, distance and not knowing each other personally separates us, there is still a sense of being in this together, creating something we hope readers will enjoy. 

Years ago, when I first started thinking about writing, L.M. Montgomery was my mentor. I used to imagine her sitting and working away on the Anne stories. Of course, I think I used to mix up the description of LMM's room with Anne's imaginary one. Regardless, I was pumped to write.

I once downloaded a photo for my desktop of Jan Karon (the Mitford series) sitting in her writing studio. Every time I opened my computer, there she was smiling at me from her desk. I found that inspired me to keep faith in my own writing space.

Then, there was the time I found a photo of Alexander McCall Smith's comfy-looking writing studio in his Scottish home, his writing desk next to a large window overlooking the water. I could have moved into that room. I met this author, well known for his No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, when he visited Edmonton a few years ago. It was easy to imagine this gentle writer working on his next novel in that lovely room.

Let me wrap up this question with one more favourite. I don't know how many times I have imagined Susan Branch getting up early every morning to work in her lovely art studio. Once in a very rare while, we both end up having a tiny chat on Twitter because we're both up at the same time (for her it's early, for me it's really early). She tells her girlfriends that she makes tea and pets Jack the kitty before she gets down to business. I do neither, as I prefer coffee in the mornings when Rick gets up, and we no longer have kitties (sad). But I imagine two creative women living on opposite ends of the continent, in different countries, each working in her own studio, each trying to make the world a more beautiful place with her creative work. It makes me feel connected and alive with possibilities.

*You might want to take a look at this interesting book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. It was my creative sister Kathy who told me about it. 



Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life


" We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb
mountains or swim the oceans - because we can. We have
some impulse within us that makes us want to
explain ourselves to other human beings. "
MAYA ANGELOU


* * *


Wishing you a beautiful day and a safe weekend.

Heart Hugs,
Brenda
xox




 Other posts where I share more about my writing:




25 comments:

  1. From the very first quote to your final signature, I savoured every word. I love to see and imagine other artist’s creative spaces too. I’ve enjoyed the magazine ‘Where Women Create’ very much. Watching artist’s sketch or paint or compose is thrilling to me. The creativity, ability, skill all working together to bring something unique out of nothing makes me marvel, “where does this come from and how does it work and praise God for making us creative people.”

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    1. I'm so glad for your comment, Joy. Oh yes, Where Women Create is inspirational. I'm glad you reminded me, and now I also remember two other magazines I find beautiful: Artful Blogging and Bella Grace.

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  2. Just had another thought, going to a workshop on writing or poetry can get me writing or reading a good book on writing. The latest ones I've loved in the The Joy of Poetry by Megan Willowe and also the Poetry Home Repair Kit by Ted Kooser.

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    1. Lin, ever since we met here in blogland, you've been an inspiration to me in always working on your next writing project. Oh yes, going to a writing or poetry workshop is always inspiring.

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  3. It is inspiring that inspiration can come from so many different sources! I so much enjoy getting glimpses into the unique creative processes of artists of all manner, I find it helps me clarify my thoughts about my own creative endeavors. Thanks for sharing:)

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    1. Like Mr. Bean's steak tartare, inspiration can be found in every nook and cranny, we have but to seek and find.

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  4. Brenda, I can't keep up with you lately. But, I can assure you that I will read this post again and again. Truly, I loved every word. Blessings, my friend.

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    1. Haha, Sandra. I'm writing more these days. It started out as a way to connect and share more while so many of us were/may still be in Covid-19 isolation. I'm always so appreciative of your presence here, Sandra, and your support and lovely comments. Thank you!

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  5. Beautiful images. Thanks for sharing your heart.

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    1. Thank you, Ruth, for stopping by. Always appreciate your presence here.

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  6. Your posts get better every time I read them, Brenda. I find that I gain so much from returning to a second, or even third, reading.

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    1. Barbara, You make my day with your kind words. I'm so glad our paths crossed!! xox

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  7. Oh, this is full of such inspiration. I love the idea of imagining other writers in their spots, crafting words and beauty. Your thoughts about the Lord turning the question back to you, "what do you want to say?" is food for much thought.
    Thank you.

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    1. I always look forward to your visits, Lorrie, and for your thoughtful and supportive feedback. You bless me!

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  8. I so enjoyed reading this post. I love to write as well. My father wrote for a Boston newspaper and my brother is a freelance writer so it runs in our family. I am going to check into your book recommendation.

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    1. I see now that writing indeed runs in your family. I'm so glad you stopped by, thank you for your lovely comment. I hope you enjoy the book if/when you get it.

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  9. What an interesting post. Thanks for sharing, very inspiring. I was blessed by question #2 and your answer. Have a lovely weekend ~ FlowerLady

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    1. I'm so pleased for your lovely comment. Thank you so much, FlowerLady!

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  10. As always I loved your post. I would say we are kindred spirits, because I love what you love. Yesterday on my early morning walk I took a photo of wild flowers in a wooded area, and posted it on FaceBook. I had many 'likes' and comments. I guess there are many who look for beauty and peace in this troubled world, and find it in God's creation.

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    1. As Anne with a E once quipped, she realized there were more kindred spirits in this world than she first suspected. It's true. I'm so glad our paths crossed, Mary. Blessings.

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  11. It was insightful to get a little glimpse into your world of inspiration!

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  12. Dear Brenda you are a wonderful writer. I love what you said to the Lord and then what He showed you in time. I know that I have taken to praying before I write my weekly blog and asking our Lord what He wants me to share. Amazing how there are times when I have planned something and then when I start to write a completely different thought comes to me. I always love reading what inspires other creative souls...must check out the book you suggested. Keep writing sweet friend you always inspire me and lift my spirits when I stop to visit you. Hugs! P.S you certainly create beauty with your words.

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  13. Many blessings! Keep writing because it is a pleasure to visit you and read your thoughts. Your blog is a rarity these days.

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  14. What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing! I love the thought about working in tandem with Jesus.

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To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xox

PS. I do not always comment here, but I do look forward to coming and visiting you....