What inspires you in the moments you least expect to find inspiration?
I’m not talking about the “inspiration” that comes from searching through 500 inspirational quotes on Tumblr until one finally hits you where it matters.
I’m talking about the surprises. The story ideas that appear when you’re just walking down the sidewalk or sitting in a lecture or minding your own business reading a book for fun.
Maybe it’s a hummingbird outside the window. A really good cup of coffee. Waking up before your alarm and having a few extra minutes just to breathe. The ending of a book you wish had never come but was worth the heartbreak anyway.
In all the years I’ve been writing, I’ve found that what inspires me to create the most isn’t a quote from a successful entrepreneur, a YouTube video about productivity or a book filled with all the reasons I should be writing and ways to do it better.
It’s the small, everyday, unexpected things I’m not even looking for. I’m just minding my own business. And yet they find me. They remind me that life is precious, things aren’t as dark as they sometimes seem, and that even if writing doesn’t fix everything or even make me feel better, there’s a reason I feel driven to do it at seemingly the most inconvenient moments.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with using a quote to propel you forward. I’ve been using a quote from a dumb song since January to remind myself that it’s OK to feel tired, frustrated, and discouraged. As long as you keep believing that what you create matters less than the fact that you’re making the effort to create it.
There’s nothing wrong with reading books, blog posts, tweets about writing. (After all, you’re reading mine.) But don’t always go searching for those things with the hope they’ll spark something inside you.
The best inspiration is the kind you stumble upon accidentally. The kind that sneaks up behind you, catches you by surprise, and takes you on adventures you never asked to endure.
It’s so hard to explain what it feels like to suddenly be hit by inspiration that I hardly even try anymore. The best I can do is say that it’s like waking up realizing everything is OK when you went to sleep thinking it would never be OK again.
It’s like magic.
To be able to take something so mundane and turn it into something beautiful is like a superpower. How amazing that is. How … inspiring.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.