It seems like Calvin knows what he’s talking about, until we get the second half of this strip:
But he’s not totally wrong.
Lemme tell you a story: I’m 14 years old. I’m sitting before a lit screen with my parents and two siblings, watching the movie Train to Busan. For those of you who are not familiar, it’s a very good zombie movie. That night, I can’t go to sleep. I couldn’t tell you what happened, but I had an irrepressible urge to write. That movie had inspired me.
When I finally woke up in the morning, I had all sorts of ideas floating around in my head: I had been reading Karen Traviss’ Star Wars: Republic Commando series (I told you, I’m a nerd) and had a pretty good idea for a short story. So I sat down at my seven-year-old computer that would instantly die if it was disconnected from its power cord, and write up a few paragraphs. I wrote in 500 word segments, and the whole thing maybe took me two weeks. Every time I wrote a segment (It was a short story, so it didn’t really have chapters), I posted them on my school forum for review.
The reports I got surprised me. My classmates (a few of them, anyway) really did like my little short story (At that point entitled The Story of Gabriel O’Brian, later dubbed They That Stagger) This pushed me harder, and I developed more of a love for the craft of writing. Even though this project was a short one, I had a lot of fun writing it and seeing my classmates’ remarks.
But what had really inspired me to write? This wasn’t the first time for me, and it wouldn’t be the last. Throughout my early life, I’d get these spells of “I GOTTA WRITE!!” in random times. It was one of these that spurred me on to write my full-scale novel, that I’ve been writing and rewriting since then. I began to call this phenomenon Inspiration.
Maybe it went all the way back to a movie I saw, a book I read, or a picture I viewed. All I know is just that it wasn’t always that way. I might see something that made me want to write like a madman, and I might look at the very same thing later and not get the same mood about it.
You may know what I’m talking about; you may not. But the way I see it, no writer of fiction started their writing dream because their writing teacher stood over them with a a whip, or their mom told them to, or whatever. Writers write because they want to. Inspiration is part of that: you see an element in something else that you want to duplicate in your own words.
I’ve had these little “spells”, but I’m not really able to replicate them. It’s a seemingly random trigger: maybe one day I’ll just wake up and want to write whatever I’ve been thinking about lately. But, I have a theory: the human mind is very creative. In fact, SO creative that other minds’ creativity inspires creative impulses in other minds. The “That’s cool!” sense exists in all minds, and the most creative of us have a sense of “That’s cool, and I’d like to create what you did!” This is the nature of inspiration.
Everyone gets inspiration from SOMETHING, whether they steal it completely or only want to use one small element. This inspiration can vary in invigoration, but it will produce at least some measure of willingness to write. Sometimes, you get the ball rolling, and you become enraptured in your own story. the better the story, the more you want to write about it.
Now that I’ve spent all this time blathering about inspiration, I have to tell you any and all tips that I have about fishing for it. As I told you, inspiration is tough to duplicate, but I have a few recommendations. First, get some art in your life! Good art inspires more good art. If you like horses, inspire yourself with movies, paintings, and books on horses. If you like science fiction, surround yourself with movies, paintings, and books on science fiction. The more you hang around art, the more it inspires you. A note of caution: don’t hang around stupid art. What you hang around, as I said, starts to rub off on you.
Secondly, you could try a walk in your garden, or a light exercise. I like to listen to Epic Score music (A tactic I would recommend to you as well). Just a little activity you use to get your creative energies flowing. This doesn’t usually work as well, but at quiet times when you’re alone you can get the best inspirations.
Good luck, and happy writing!