What inspires you


Hey all. This is going to be a rather short post because I’m behind on my writing schedule, but it will have media and pictures, so I hope that makes up for it. ^_^

Today I want to talk about what inspires you to write. Not what gives you ideas, but what puts you in the mood or makes you want to write. For me, there are several different things that really get my creative juices flowing.

One is music. I’m rather eclectic with my tastes and when I’m in certain moods, it is just possible that my ipod will jump from an industrial or darkwave song to something from a Disney soundtrack. But while this might be part of what I listen to while I write, not all music really inspires. And what inspires changes from time to time (even day to day). Right now the synth/violin music of Lindsey Stirling is really rocking my world. Her music includes no lyrics but her sound provokes images. There is a lot of energy in this music.  (A youtube video is attached, but I’m talking about the music itself, not the video. If the below video won’t play, you can find it here)



Art is another thing that  inspires me. As you can see from this image of my office wall, I like to be able to look up and see images–some whimsical such as several pieces by Sarah Clemens and others much darker, such as the pieces by Victoria Frances. Frances’s work in particular is very inspirational for me because it is very dark and moody. I want to make people feel. Emotion is the center of fiction. So images that provoke emotion, be it humor, sorrow, terror, or what-have-you, inspire me to write.


Then there are books–a great book is definitely an inspiration. Whenever I close a great book, I always  find myself recharged and ready to write.   As a reader, unless I’m researching, I read to be entertained, so it probably  comes as no surprise then that I write to entertain. I want my readers to escape for a while and get lost in the story. When a great book does that for me, it reminds me of why I started writing in the first place and inspires me to try to evoke the same response and share that pleasure with others.

So what about you? What inspires you to write?


33 comments to What inspires you

  • Thank you for posting, Kalyana!

    Like you, music is a sure fire inspiration generator. It does depend on my mood as to what music hits a nerve. If I am depressed, some Trance or Fusion mixes really get me going. If I am upbeat, then Country or Rock/Metal strikes a nerve. Right now, I am thinking some Fusion or Hard Groove is on deck for the day.

    Art can inspire sometimes, specially if it is artwork which features women.

    Also, visiting my writing websites like Magical Words helps to inspire me. Just talking about writing and what I and my fellow writers are going through helps to get my creative jucies flowing.

    On that note, it’s time to write! 🙂

  • Agreed that great books are a huge inspiration (though I have to fight the urge to say I want to reproduce THAT!). The music which inspires me, as I’ve said before, is largely in the words I experiment with: I’m a silent writer. I’m going to leave responding to Mark’s comment about being inspired by “artwork which features women” for others… 🙂

  • (snerk) >>artwork which features women>> I’m with AJ on this one. Somebody else comment. 🙂

    I have been at this so long that nothing inspires me to write more than just getting out of bed and walking to the desk. But I admit that upon the rare times when I am stuck, I can put on some AmIn flute and drum music and feel Jane Yellowrock rising up through me. It just relaxes me and lets things start to flow again.

  • The Mathelete

    Definitely music. Thanks Kalayna for mentioning darkwave — that’s the stuff my scary or suspenseful scenes are bred of! Sometimes sad or death scenes too if the tempo is right. Electric violin almost always equals a flight scene (loved the song you posted — I can just see a ship chase in space or a few of my guys and gals on horseback running from something wicked), and alternative/heavy rock is almost always for a fight/battle scene.

    A couple of weird ones for me: a long, hard day at the office/shopping/running errands/DMV/etc. or a car trip > 1 hour. Don’t know what it is, but when I get to an endpoint after either of those, I don’t want email or TV — just my story and a quick couple of hours to escape.

    @Mark — INSPIRATION!

    There, Faith and AJ. Handled it 😉 Clean hands for all the actual content posters.

  • What can I say, I’m a guy. 🙂

    @The Mathelete, indeed! Although I think for better inspiration, there is Rick Veitch’s version of Whistler: <a href="http://garyerskine.blogspot.com/2008/09/is-rick-veitch-whistlers-mother.html"http://garyerskine.blogspot.com/2008/09/is-rick-veitch-whistlers-mother.html

  • MaCrae

    Hiking! Or in general walking around parks and such nature-filled places. I picture my characters and say “What would they be doing and thinking right now?” Or imagine myself running from bad guys. Biking riding with music. Horse riding definately. Music is definitely my biggest one, although I have to have silence when I’m actually writing. It’s too distracting.

  • Unicorn

    Great post, Kalayna, thank you. I’m with MaCrae. On the occasions where I *don’t* fall off, horses kick-start my imagination. I know, I know, I’m obsessed with them.
    A good movie never fails. It doesn’t even have to be fantasy – as long as it touches me, it sends me to the keyboard. A good book has the same effect. I wish I could be like Faith, though, and just get to work…

  • Everything. Conversations I overhear. Odd observations I make. A line in a song. Something I see on TV. And being in nature, of course, so I make sure that I get plenty of photos. Whistler? I have some lovely scenic winter shots of when DH and I were up there last March. 😉

  • I don’t need music for inspiration, but I confess that images can kickstart my creative juices. I have a file of newspaper photos and movie images that always get me going. The scene from a Man Called Horse where Richard Harris is suspended in a shaft of sunlight; the scene in Tome Bandits where the giant comes out of the sea beneath a pirate ship and ends up wearing it as a hat. Brilliant dialog gets me going: Pulp Fiction, O Brother Where Art Thou, and again, Time Bandits (my favorite movie of all time). I also have an evergreen list of plot ideas, words, things I love to read about, and other intriguing stuff I update regularly. Whenever I’m stuck, I look at it. For example, I saw a cool thing on PBS about the real seven portals to hell. There is also the word, “Susto”, which means fright sickness. And a story about Romanian witches being burdened by a government tax. And finally, whenever I’m ready to start something new, I have a little template that has only two sentences at the top of a blank page. It says, “Good morning, Pandora. What would you like to write about today?” Something about that sentence always inspires me and frees me to write.

  • Hey everyone, I apologize if I don’t respond to everyone individually but I just wanted to pop in here and share how much I’m enjoying reading everyone’s replies.

    @AJ–Hmm, does that explain why you write in so many genres?

    @Mark and Mathelete–LOL, I’m highly amused.

    @Unicorn, I’m also jealous of Faith’s ability to find inspiration from just seeing her desk–half the time my desk terrifies me. LOL (thank goodness for laptops. ^_^)

    @MaCrae and Laura–I agree, nature can be a great inspiration. I should have listed that one!

    @Pandora–Oh, I love that you start your documents with those lines. Humorous, to the point, AND it breaks that blink cursor on an empty page problem, which can be intimidating.

    Thanks again for sharing everyone!

  • I guess I’m with Faith, on this one. At this point, if I worry about inspiration, I won’t get anything done. I get to my desk and I write. I enjoy instrumental music when I work, but there are times when I’ll realize halfway through my day that I’ve forgotten to put any music on. If I’m really stuck, a walk, or a few hours out taking pictures usually gets me writing again.

  • May seem a bit sappy, but my family is ultimately my inspiration for putting myself in the chair every day and working to succeed in writing. As much as it would be a personal letdown for me to fail, I don’t want to fail the people who put up with my eccentricities, believe in me, and support my attempts to become a successful author. I have their pictures taped up to my desk.

    Aside from that, I listen to the same music while writing, a Gundam 00 soundtrack. I have my focusing stones and my creativity candle. Ideas just seem to pour forth from the aether into my brainpan, so I haven’t needed any inspiration for ideas *knocks on wood*.

  • LOL, David, I talked last time about the fact you can’t wait for inspiration to strike if you want to ever get anywhere. This was more an, in general, what types of things inspire you. ^_^ The things that make you stop and go “Wow” and remind you why you want to write or give you that extra urge, even if you’ve already put in a full day of writing and are supposed to be having ‘down time’ (do writers have that?)

  • I suffer from the curse of being multi-talented (Jack of all trades, master of lack of focus). Evocative music makes me want to do play or compose, art inspires me to draw or paint, and a good book makes me want to write.

  • Music, Art, and Good books, yes all, certainly. I don’t need to retread those.

    But I also take a good amount of inspiration from News & Politics & History. I try to stay abreast of all that stuff, and I find as I do that it starts to grow little Idea Colonies in the back of my mind, and sometimes those Idea Colonies blossom into full-blown story ideas.

    Also… do tell me… what is this “darkwave” you speak of?

    Back in the heydey of Everyone Downloads Music For Free On the Internet I was pretty much as guilty as anyone else, and I discovered a lot of genres and music I’d never have discovered otherwise, and found a lot of stuff I liked. These days I try to stick to obtaining my music the Legal Way – which mostly means that I only obtain a very narrow set of types of music (i.e. Movie Soundtracks)… so whereas I was never on top of the music scene, at the crest of the wave, before I was at least hanging on the wake of new and good stuff, but nowadays I’m way, way, way, way, way behind it (i.e. adrift at sea and paddling the only direction I know how).

  • sagablessed

    I actually have a mini altar to the powers of inspiration I use. A geode for meditation -sometimes looking at the refracted light clears my mind; an incense burner (lavender or amber fires me up), and a cup of tea or wine. Sometimes a bit of chocolate as well.
    Music is good. I like various types, and a different variety for each scene-style. If I am in a fight scene….industrial or hard rock. Romantic: love-songs. Magickal: well, you get the idea.
    I read alot as well. Seeing a story told gives me impetus for my dream of being published.

  • A great book inspires as well as enlightens and entertains. I find after about 10 pages of a great story, the words start singing in my head and I want to put the book down and start typing. It’s like some otherworldly calling that pulls constantly until I succumb. Of course, I’ve tapped into this and start most writing days off by reading a half-dozen pages.

    Music helps implant images, so I create playlists that evoke similar character or story ideas. When I need to become my current MC, I listen to certain songs by 3 Doors Down, in particular, Landing in London.

    Like David, exercise provides a good boost. It clears the neural pathways as much as it does the airways. A run isn’t necessary, even a brisk walk will work.


  • Razziecat

    Music and good books. Unusual names. Faces with striking, unusual features. Sudden insights from reading or hearing a well-reasoned, impassioned argument about…um, almost anything. Hearing bits of my characters’ conversations in my mind and thinking, “I have to write that down!” and it grows from there. Sometimes I look at something I’ve seen a million times and think, “what if…?” Dreams and daydreams, that odd, not-quite-asleep state I fall into sometimes on the bus or the train. And, of course, falling in love with a story idea, because I just HAVE to know where it goes! 🙂

  • I’m with Macrae – getting outside gets the ideas flowing. Being bored works too, preferably when I am sitting somewhere like a train where writing would be awkward and I have free license to sit and stare out a window or at people.

    And writing makes me want to write. Just getting BIC and moving my fingers will usually get the ideas going, even when I don’t feel like it’s going to.

  • I hope this isn’t TMI, but I get great ideas in the shower. I’ve often considered buying those goofy bath crayons you see in gift catalogs, just so I can jot things down between the shampoo and the conditioner. I guess it’s the relaxing effect of hot water that jump starts my creativity. Or maybe it’s just the water, regardless of temperature, since I also get ideas when I’m swimming in the ocean.

  • Keep these coming guys! It’s great hearing from all of you.

    @Misty, I also “water my muse” when I really get stuck. She’s a water loving thing–which is rather inconvenient. LOL

    @Stephen my favorite Darkwave band is hands down the Cruxshadows. You can check them out here: http://thecruxshadows.com/

    @Sarah–so true, writing in and of itself can definitely inspire more writing, especially if you’re excited about what you’re working on.

  • Cruxshadows is awesome. I first heard them in that Vampire the Masquerade: Music from the Succubus Club CD.

  • Cruxshadows is great. I like Enigma and Amethystium, too. I’m also currently hung up on Abney Park. Not darkwave, but steampunk.

  • OakandAsh

    Apparently, my motivation hangs out in automotive form. A long drive tends to shake the cobwebs loose and put me in the mood. The problem comes with trying to record ideas while driving.
    The other thing I’m trying is a Mood Board. I stole that idea from a designer friend. It is anything that makes me go “hmm”- photos of architecture, furnishings,weapons, pretty shiny bits…

  • Enigma counts as Darkwave? I’m familiar with them, of course, but I thought they were classified as “New Age” – and anyway most of the Enigma stuff I’ve heard sounds pretty upbeat, which is not what the name “darkwave” would otherwise suggest to me. I’ll have to go check out these “Cruxshadows” to compare/contrast.

  • I don’t know if Enigma is officially darkwave, but they’re way darker than New Age. To me, at least. 😀

  • Evidently, I’m in a corner, alone. When I write, chances are I’m listening to classical, jazz, blues, or celtic. When I’m stuck, I can look out a window, or lie in the grass and wrestle with the dogs a bit. Or think of vacuuming. I think my muse is afraid of the vacuum. I pull it out and *wham* inspirations hits like a 2×4!!! 🙂

  • jiah

    wow, thanks for introducing me to this music! apart from music, books and movies, i’d go with nature too… there are times when i’ve amused myself by cooking up stories about my fellow walkers and joggers! one or two i even managed to write!

  • Yvette

    I hate to say that with the course work I have been doing on the way to my BS in Communications, my first passion has had to take a back seat. Now that I have 8 months left toward completion, I find that my studies have become another muse that I can call upon. Aside from the Communications major, I recently found out that I will also graduate with a minor in Criminal Justice (courses chosen as open electives). I blame my interest of that world (CJ) on the brilliant television series “Castle” and BBC crime series “Whitechapel” and “State of Play”.

    I have recently resumed edits on my MS and have reconnected with my original muse: Apocalyptica. Their music is simply amazing, driving, and gets my head in the zone. From their own composed work to covers of Metallica, I find that I get things done faster and the words just flow while working on the other WsIP I have going. I’ve posted one of their videos from early in their career. They are classically trained cellists from Finland…all cellos and a drummer…no guitars, keyboards, etc. AMAZING!

  • Yvette, I’m with you – Apocalyptica is awesome! My son introduced me to their music about a year ago, and I love it.

  • I’m going to third that vote of love for Apocalyptica. Adore them. A year or so I performed (hoop dance) to one of their songs.

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