Reviews, Views and Adventures in Content Creation

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Finding Inspiration [Blogging Every Day #22]

In trying to keep up this "Blogging Every Day" challenge, I've sometimes resorted to my photo collection for inspiration. In the picture at left, I'm climbing through a hatchway somewhere aboard the USS Pampanito, a World War II era submarine now docked permanently as a floating museum at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco.

Generally I'll try to find a photo that either inspires subject matter, or indirectly illustrates a topic I'm already considering. In this case, the photo serves only as a trigger - I placed the photo, and began writing, but only the vaguest idea of where this blog would be headed.

There are probably hundreds of books about finding inspiration - but we're all wired differently. I've tried a variety of flash cards and other gimmicks to fire up my creative engine, but vague suggestions don't really do it for me. When I'm writing fiction, I'll find inspiration from other authors, both known and unknown, movies, music and naturally my own history. Finding inspiration, for me at least, can't be forced. It has to be somewhat organic.

Recently, I had the opportunity to read, for the first time, the classic short novel, "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," by James Hilton (also the author of Lost Horizon). In relatively few pages, Hilton tells the story of a professor at a old British boarding school, as he looks back at the ups and downs of his life at the school over a period of several decades. In such a short novel, an epic story unfolds - and it's probably more powerful at seventy-four pages than it would have been if it had been seven hundred and forty pages. It's inspiring not only for Hilton's storytelling, but for his brevity.

While may consider "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" sentimental, it's effective and heartfelt.

For this writer, it's a rare inspiration.
The first edition, from Wikipedia

1 comment:

  1. I have a book named "Writing With a Purpose". From it I learned to pick a subject, place of origin and a destination. If you have this for every story then it is less likely to wander and get lost.