Sometimes my mind goes blank. All ideas abandon me, and I sit, staring miserably at the cursor on an empty document. It’s a writer’s worst nightmare, but I’ve come to believe that it happens when the eagerness to write becomes obsession.
Is there a remedy? A good question, but not easily answered. First of all, it doesn’t help to try forcing the issue. If you’ve ever tried to fall asleep on a restless night, you’ll know that the harder you try, the worse the insomnia.
Likewise, the muses can’t be tricked. So, how do we make them smile on us? Is necessity truly the mother of invention?
Finding inspiration is a personal matter, and every artist, writer, or composer have their own way of courting their muse. Still, there are sources, which lie embedded in our roots. Some authors swear by speed writing. Others have a talisman or need a special environment. Whatever it is, the important issue is to create a ladder, leading to our subconscious.
What are my inspiration triggers? As I write historical fiction, history plays a part. Not so much the dry facts, but the way people dressed, ate, spoke, and even what they believed, or how they spent their evenings. The list is endless. Here I must add that I research dry facts when necessary, but that is an exercise in patience. Naturally, facts are important when writing about a specific period. Also, they’re necessary for making characters believable: they lived with their historical circumstances.
For me, myths are important tools for finding inspiration. It may not matter which mythology, but I mostly see a relationship between the characters I want to portray and their preferred legends. As I see it, all myths are interconnected. Deep down they’re an expression of the collective subconscious.
Talismans are rooted in the dream world. They can take any shape or form. Again, it’s a matter of what resonates within. It is up to the individual, whether amulets work for them or not.
Personally, I can’t work with music in the background. My best guess is that it distracts me, because of years of musical training. I’m at my best when writing alone and in silence.
© HMH, 2018