Sometimes keeping the writing engines revving is all about staying inspired. Lately I have been attempting to dip my toes into the pool of finding an agent. The process is a bit harsh to one’s self esteem, and I found myself going back to my finished novel and examining and reexamining it for flaws. This process is likely familiar for most writers; the reader(s) do not like it, or even just do not respond to it, so something must be wrong with the piece. This week alone I have reworked some areas, reworded some areas, stressed a little, and reworded some more.
Then, I was inspired. I am currently reading Michaio Kaku’s Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos in conjunction with Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. They are both fascinating reads about the possibility of parallel universes, and after this week’s announcement about the inflation theory, very relevant. But I digress.
I was reading Kaku’s book and I came across this quote: “[S]cientists believe the universe started out in a state of perfect symmetry, with all the forces unified into a single force. The universe was beautiful, symmetrical, but rather useless. Life as we know it could not exist in this perfect state. In order for the possibility of life to exist, the symmetry of the universe had to break as it cooled.”
This is for all the perfectionists out there, always striving to get it just right, to make everything polished and… well, perfect. Stop. Our very existence is based in imperfection. If we were perfect, we would not exist. Mind blown, at least for me who struggles with perfection constantly. I understand that art is subjective, therefore never perfect, but that understanding never stopped me from trying to make it so; however, this idea, that human beings exist because of imperfection toppled me off my perfection stool.
I felt relief and inspired. With that in mind, I decided to write down a few other things that help to inspire. I wanted them for future reference when I faced these demons again (tomorrow, probably), and perhaps to help inspire a few of you as well.
1. Pulling again from the world of physics; another gem quoted from Kaku’s book. “The quantum theory is based on the idea that there is a probability that all possible events, no matter how fantastic or silly, might occur.” I love this one. Sure, something fantastic might take billions of years to occur, but unless the laws of physics expressly forbid it from happening, it will. Bring it on publishing world, I will make it… one day.
2. An idea that morphs off the thankful jar is an inspiration jar, or box, or what have you. Gather those passages that you have read, the poems, or the quotes, or the little reminders that make you feel inspired, and put them all in your jar or box. The act of gathering these little gems will inspire you, and once assembled, every day you can pull out a piece from the box and be inspired. In the future, when you find another gem, add it to your box.
3. This one might not work for everyone, but it works for me: take a walk in nature. No doubt this is one that you have heard before, but it truly works. I am a writer that sits on my couch in my living room while my three-year-old watches My Little Pony (happening right now). I also write sometimes in cafes, or at my kitchen table. Those moments that I am blocked, or feel frustrated, I force myself out of the indoors and into the outdoors. Taking five minutes to walk under the huge evergreen trees that populate the Pacific Northwest is enough to clear my head. I forget how therapeutic it can be, honestly, so I have a handwritten sign on my fridge that says “go outside”.
Being inspired is a come and go type thing. Inspiration, unfortunately, rarely stays around for long; however, just as it is fleeting, it is rather easy to find inspiration if you look for it. Maybe that is contrived, perhaps inspiration should be more of a spontaneous event, but I take it where I can get it, and if I can help the spontaneous events happen, I will.