Gaby, Gioconda and I started this blog as a creative outlet that we could pursue together, but most of all, we founded Sense & Serendipity because we are deeply and passionately in love with the craft of writing. I learn so much from these two incredible women all the time. They are not only two of the best friends you could ever be lucky enough to have, but are amazing writers who inspire me to be better as well. And with that, here is one of my favorite flashbacks about finding your inspiration. Hope it “re-inspires” you too!
This week we are exploring our journey in writing. Writing is one of our favorite topics to talk about and write about. It’s what brought us together to start this blog. We wanted to share our writing, practice this craft and tell our stories.
Today we are talking about inspiration.
What’s my inspiration for writing? Wow, that’s a tough one since so many things not only inspire me to write, but inspire me to really up my game/skills as a writer overall. Really thought-provoking, moving, hilarious, unusual movies and TV series with incredibly well-drawn, flawed characters inspire me to write. To me, it’s all about character. Some of my favorites: The Imitation Game, Trainwreck, Up in the Air, Bridesmaids, Breaking Bad, 30 Rock, Veep, Arrested Development, and even the new FX series – People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story. These are the bombdiggity when it comes to intensely good writing. Every time I watch them, it makes me want to grab my laptop and crank something genius out. Okay, I’ll settle for cranking something, anything out. That’s half the battle most of the time – just getting beyond the blank page.
What else? Hmmm… People inspire me to write! Yep, just ordinary everyday people. Observing their body language, emotions, relationships (or lack there of) with others, eavesdropping on conversations – people are SO interesting if you just pay attention. Everyone has a story. Everyone. Even me! Even you! Even the creeper next to you at Starbucks right now!
And then there are a couple of really fabulous screenwriting blogs, I try to read on the regular: John August , Jen Grisanti and Scott Myers’s blog, Go Into the Story.
I also love Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic podcast because it focuses a lot on working past the fear of writing and moving beyond the notion of making things perfect which I’m 300% guilty of doing.
Finally, I dig the book, 642 Things to Write About by the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto. It’s a fabulous thought starter when you’re feeling completely stuck for ideas.
“I always tell people that I became a writer not because I went to school but because my mother took me to the library. I wanted to become a writer so I could see my name in the card catalog.” – Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street
There are so many people and things that inspire me to write: the story, the characters, the idea that there are perfectly unique stories living inside me that will only come out when I allow them to, the absolute joy of sitting and letting the words flow out of me…I could go on an on. But every time I step inside a bookstore or a library, I am reminded of my love of books and writing and my inspiration to create is renewed. The quote above from Sandra Cisneros rings so true with me. I want to see my name one day, among those authors and those books. It’s the goal that encourages me to push past my fears and just write.
I find inspiration in the everyday. Those are the types of stories I like to read and the type of stories I like to write. I feel connected to moments that seem ordinary but there is a story to uncover. That’s why I love to document our life.
Watching a good movie makes me want to write a script. Reading a good book makes me want to write a book. Listening to a good song makes me want to write lyrics. I am not tied to a format but will follow wherever the inspiration leads.
There are a few books that help me practice this skill. I read The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp a few years ago and still reference it when I need a creative push. It’s not just for writing but a guidebook for any creative habit you want to pursue.
Another favorite is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It talks about following your curiosity and not letting fear get in your way. Fear is what keeps me from taking that first step, writing that first word. It’s something I am always working against.
Just this past week I was gifted the book Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and I’m devouring every page. I’m finding little nuggets and underlining, highlighting and saying hmmm out loud. There are some great exercises for finding stories that I can’t wait to try. “Writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.”
What inspires you? We are always looking for fresh new ways to jumpstart our writing! Spill!