Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Where does Inspiration Strike You?


As writers we are all victims of the  elusive muse  who showers his/her blessings via inspiration, which like lightning can strike us any time, any place and anywhere. Sometimes, even twice in the same place.

My muse tends to be very generous when ever it suits him (yes, my muse is a male). Don’t ask me how I have come to that conclusion. I just know it. Call it a Woman’s Instinct. Just like my mom knows when I am dodging the truth.

Honestly, there have been times when I am  at a party enjoying a marathon chat session with my favourite cousins and my muse is whispering important plot points in my ears. At that time I am not sure whether I am supposed to drop my tandoori kebab and jot down the points. Then, I realize  that  I was foolish enough to bring a tiny clutch purse which  had  turned up its nose at my scribbling pad and pen.

Once, I even made  notes on paper napkins, the pen was borrowed from a gentleman having a drink at the next table.

There have been times when I have quickly wiped my hands on a paper napkin and typed those important plot points as a message and saved it on my cell phone. Inspiration has its amazing way of  striking me when I least expect it. Another favourite place for inspiration is when I  am catching a movie with friends in a multiplex. You can always find me with my eyes glued to the large screen and my fingers typing a furious tattoo on my cell.

 Nowadays, inspiration arrives at my doorstep when I am reading blog posts. I am not going to name the bloggers, because, I fear that they may demand a percentage of my royalty for inspiring me.

Many senior writers suggest keeping a pen and paper not just handy, but in many places in the house. That way it’s easy to make notes and capture the secrets spilling out of our muse’s mouth before he/she decides to disappear.

Where does Inspiration strike you? Which is its favourite haunt? How do you cope with its demands? Any funny incidents that come to mind? We would love to be inspired by the stories of your inspiration.
              

27 comments:

Robyn Campbell said...

Inspiration is all around me, Rachna. You know I live in the country on a farm. That is all the inspiration I need. I walk out the door and my muse (which looks like a horse) is sitting on the porch beckoning me. And I have been known to have to cut a horseback ride short to return back to the barn (I have a desk in there), to jot down notes about thoughts that flew into my head while riding or something unusual I saw while riding. A quote from Ben Franklin, "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." Inspiring post, my friend. :-)

Alka Gurha said...

What an interesting post...Seriously, if you have scribbled on paper napkins then you are a thinking writer.

I am not writing fiction these days, so the inspiration comes from the newspapers and magazines. For fiction, I have an interesting bunch of relatives who have provided enough fodder.

Ken Lindsey said...

Dreams! For me it happens in my dreams (not only in my dreams, but often). Then, I wake up and search for a pen or a recorder or anything that might avail itself to me so that I don't have to get up.

There is never a pen or a recorder, so sleep gets sacrificed. Oh well, at least I know where my Muse is staying the night.

Just 1 Writer

cherie said...

Like Ken, i also get inspired by my dreams. SOmetimes it's not the specific event happening in the dream but the feeling that it leaves me. Watching a movie or reading a book also inspires me. Music too. I guess inspiration is all around us if we know where to look.

Rachna Chhabria said...

@ Robyn...yes, you are indeed surrounded by inspiration. I am sure you must have written loads of short stories and Picture Books based on your farm animals.

@ Alka...I have even scribbled on the back of Housie sheets whenever I accompany mom for the games. I am the only one who brings her used sheets home.

@ Ken and Cherie...I am really jealous that you two get inspiration through dreams. Though I dream a lot, I have never seen a dream which I can say has inspired my writing. You both are lucky, its your sub-conscious mind working while you are asleep and guiding you. :)

Michele Helene (Verilion) said...

Firstly Rachna, I'd just like to say that it's very bad etiquette to 'drop' your tandoori kebab, no matter how good the idea is. Mine tends to come on the bus in the morning, or in the little girl's room and dreams are pretty good too.

Rachit said...

you must name those lucky blogger.. don't be afraid of the, also they may help you in advertising your book :)

Victoria Dixon said...

Sometimes dreams, books, night time rambling thoughts before sleep, movies and evesdropping on others' conversations. It's astonishing what insights you can gain into the human psyche by listening.

Kenda said...

I always carry a stubby pencil and 3x5 cards in my pocket on my walks--that's when most of my ideas come. Or in the shower. I keep a small notebook and pencil close by there, too. Too bad they aren't waterproof!

Lynda R Young said...

I keep little notebooks all over the house because inspiration usually strikes at the most inconvenient time ;)

Misha said...

Anything could inspire me. A thought... a word... a phrase. Even a person passing by me on a street.

:-D

Rachna Chhabria said...

@ Michele...next time I won't drop the tandoori Kebab however good the idea that hits me ;)

@ Rachit....wait for the next few posts...I will reveal those bloggers who inspire me ;)

@ Victoria...even my moments of insights come at the most unexpected times.

@ Kenda...waterproof scribbling notebooks would indeed be a blessing for writers.

@ Lynda...I run back into my room from wherever I am to scribble when inspiration strikes me.

@ Misha... That's the way it works for me too.

Naina Gupta said...

Like you, I could be inspired by anything. I try to always keep a notepad with me. One time I was on the train and wrote two pages. Unfortunately, that is not always the case so I take notes on my note as a draft text message.

Jai Joshi said...

Inspiration comes to me at the oddest of times. Like when I washing the dishes. Or driving the car. Or eating dinner with friends. Or cooking dinner. It's almost always when I can't get to a pen and paper. So frustrating. But then I just keep going over the idea in my head to make sure it stays there and then when I can I quickly write it down so I don't forget.

Other times, inspiration has come to me as I'm in the place between sleeping and waking, hovering on the edge of my subconscious. Those ideas I take most seriously of all.

Jai

SUB said...

Wow...amazing post, and inspiring as well....

Cheers!
SUB

Lydia K said...

I get struck at the most random times. Usually, I grab my phone or computer and email the idea to myself. It's always worked for me.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

My must can be very whimsical -- I get some of my ideas when taking a shower. Other times when I'm walking the dog. But sometimes I get an idea when I'm in the car and my husband is driving. I do keep a notebook in my purse to scribble things down, so those are the times I thank my muse for picking an opportune time.

J.L. Campbell said...

Rachna, I should think about using my cell phone to capture my thoughts instead of the bills and envelopes in my handbag. If I'm not in a position to write and a great sentence comes to me, I memorize it until I can write it down. Don't ask me why I do that when I can use my phone. Thanks for that idea. I need a brain wash-out. :)

Madeleine said...

LOL! I agree it strikes everywhere. In the shower and on walks and ironing and on a railway journey. :O)

Ellie Garratt said...

As you say, inspiration can strike anywhere. I've scribbled notes on napkins, the backs of work labels, and even on my hand. My mobile is my favourite tool though - those note taking apps are the perfect tool!

Ellie Garratt

Jim Murdoch said...

I don’t believe in inspiration, not in any Romantic sense. Inspiration is a good idea – literally – and I don’t like to mystify the process. If I have a good idea, great, if not then any old idea will do. I used to wait around for inspiration to strike as if it was out of my control and that’s such a waste of resources. This doesn’t mean I’m not affected by my moods and there are times I’m less responsive than others – there’s nothing like having a clear head when you’re trying to write – but there’s often much we can do to improve our chances of a successful writing session, if we know ourselves. This is why some writers rise at the crack of dawn because they recognise that that is the optimum time for them to work. I used to find working in the middle of the night was a very productive time but these days I’m at my clearest in the afternoons.

That said you can be struck by a good idea any time. The key is to be on the lookout. And have paper handy. It’s no different to a photographer wandering around with his camera on the lookout for something worth snapping. Unlike some authors there’s no place I find inspiring and believe you me I have pounded the street looking for ideas in the past. You can’t force a good idea so come to you any more than you can encourage a cat to come to you by shouting at it.

Cheryl Klarich said...

Really good post, Rachna! It's a wonderful reminder to capture the moments of inspiration when they happen (because they can be elusive!). People, conversations, scenery, and just plain old living my life can waft in ideas... if I'm listening.

Blessings!

SBJones said...

TV and Movies inspire me. A witty line, or a specific kung-fu move will give me an idea that I can wrap a whole chapter around.

The things children say.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Hi, again, Rachna, I left a couple of awards for you on my blog.

Margo Berendsen said...

I just cry when I lose a story idea because I didn't write it down soon enough! In a pinch, I'll a keyword or two on my hand!

Terri Tiffany said...

Inspiration usually strikes me while I am falling asleep or just waking up-- I think I am most relaxed then and so I keep a pen by my bedside.

Anu said...

Nice Post Rachna!!!...One of my personal inspirations is Forest that surrounds the village I grew up in (Its been vacated now ). I grew up with my grandparents hunting and simply enjoying the nature. Living in Bangalore ,studies ( also because its been vacated) I don't have much opportunity to visit the village and meet the villagers. Now whenever I go around, hang out or go on trip to some place I relate everything to the place where I grew up.....