The topic of inspiration (or the lack thereof) came up recently on one of the lists I'm on and it got me thinking... or thinking some more... about where inspiration comes from (or to be grammatically correct: from where inspiration comes).
I was thinking about that this morning, because for a good chunk of the summer, I've had a hard time getting words on the virtual page--or even the physical paper page. Some of you have seen my struggle as I try (and sometimes fail) to make my word goals here. My artwork has suffered equally under this cloud of unproductively. Part of the problem was life stress; most of the stress was stuff I couldn't do anything about, but acknolwedging that X is stressing me out was a step in the right direction. It is healthy to recognize that there are things you simply can't do anything about--and things you CAN do something about. If there's something you can do to minimize the stress, do it. If there is nothing you can do, simply acknowledge it and do your best to ride it out.
Some of the things I've done to try and crack the cycle of is to set word goals (and keep them realistic; I know what I'm capable of, and what I have planned for the week, ergo, I didn't set any word goals for last week. Oh, I DID make my last goal... mostly. I got to 25,000 in the car on the way to Atlanta. Let's hear it for laptop computers!! Obviously, I was not driving at the time....) The idea isn't to add to your own stress by setting goals you can't keep, it's to set a goal you can keep so you can feel good about your accomplishment and ride the high into the next week's word goal ;-)
Getting out of your own space can be incredibly helpful; taking my laptop up to the coffee shop to write gets me away from the distractions of my house (and into the air conditioning on those beasly hot summer days that also contributed greatly to my general state of "blah"). Sometimes I even take my sketch pad up to the coffee shop (Georgia and the Dragon, not yet pictured on my site, was drawn there last summer).
Taking this vacation to Dragon*Con has also helped. It's here, just last year, that I got the inspiration for Heart's Home, my m/m romance that has been picked up by Dreamspinner. I got the inspiration for it in the Art Show (which I have yet to find the time to get to this year; guess what I'm doing this morning!) I've only been to a couple of writer panels--I seriously do not come here to go to writing panels, I come here to get what I can't get at my home town's sci fi cons: actors! (Gods, doesn't that sound awful?) But seriously, I come here to see people who are simply never going to be booked anywhere near me, simply by virtue of the nature of the Detroit area sci fi community; we do literary cons, end-stop. This year I am also not going to any of the artist panels, although I did last year and learned a lot from the talk Marrus did (if I'd seen her doing another talk, I probably would have gone, she's marvelous). But the point I was meandering my way to was this: taking a break, taking a vacation, while something we obviously can't afford to do everytime we hit a dry patch, is certainly a good way to recharge the batteries, especially if you can go to a place where you're surrounded by creativity. That said, there are places within easy reach of all of us that we can visit on a day off: the art museum, the zoo, the park, the mall (oh yes, malls are great sources of inspiration, just sit and people watch for an hour or two!) Each of us is going to draw creativity from different places, so the trick is to figure out what works for you.
Some people find reading a good book inspires them, but I find that one to be a little tricky; after all, I don't want to start writing someone else's story, just with my own tweaks. (Although I did pick up an excellent book in one of the dealers' rooms here--yes, ONE OF, there are three. It's called Blackdog. I don't have it in front of me, so I can't recall the author, but look for my review of it on Good Reads soon--I was hooked on the premis, obviously, or I wouldn't have purchased it, but as of page 28, I was so hooked I didn't want to put it down... except they were seating for Gareth David Lloyd's talk last night and well... the book would still be there after his presentation of Countrycide.
Okay, off to enjoy the last day of Dragon*con.
(PS having issues with the spell check; it checked half the page and then insisted there were no errors... I do not believe this to be true, but honest, I did try to run it. Maybe I just need more coffee....)