Sunday, February 16, 2014

Novel Notions welcomes RJ Crayton to Self Published Sunday!

It is my pleasure to welcome author R.J. Crayton to Self Published Sunday.  Today she's talking about inspiration and it's well worth reading!  Before we get to her post, I thought you might want to meet her!

RJ Crayton lives in the Washington, DC, area and writes suspense and thriller novels that have a touch of romance. She has published two novels set in an exciting dystopian future: Life First and Second Life.  

What to do if inspiration doesn’t find you at your desk
by R. J. Crayton

“An idea is like a virus: resilient, highly contagious. And even the smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.”
-Inception (2010 film)

One of my favorite movies of recent years is Inception. The 2010 film is fun for anyone who works in the field of ideas (so that would be you, if you’re a writer). The movie’s basic premise is there are corporate espionage agents who specialize in stealing secrets from sleeping CEOs by invading their minds. The agents in the film get hired to do something considered impossible--inception. In the movie, stealing data is easy, but planting an idea in someone’s head and getting it to stick and to grow — inception — is impossible. Why? Because for an idea to stick, it must be original. According to the film’s lore, the brain rejects ideas that feel foreign. To get true inception, the idea has to feel random, like a grand epiphany that occurred when the mind secretly connected the dots. Inception isn’t about a random, insignificant idea — like, yum, strawberries would be tasty right about now — but ideas that a person will remember and act upon.

So, now that I’ve given you my movie lecture, what does it have to do with today’s post? Well, the topic of this post is inspiration, and I find this notion of inception incredibly relevant to the inspiration.  When people say they feel inspired, it’s rarely something they forget twenty minutes later (if it is something we forget in a few minutes, I’m inspired a lot; most often about car keys). If we’re going to tell someone we feel “inspired” or even just say it to ourselves, it tends to be an  idea that feels original, unique, different, important, fun, serendipitous, or maybe even life-changing.

For writers, this is why  finding inspiration can sometimes feel difficult. Assuming corporate agents aren’t going to invade our brains and implant ideas (I know this is a tough assumption to make, given how regularly this happens), what’s the best way for writers to go about finding inspiration when they’re not feeling it?

Well, while writing itself tends to be a solitary affair, done alone in a room, inspiration is not. It’s something that requires writers get out and move about. The things that inspire people are little nuggets that happen at dinners with friends, overheard conversations at the mall, watching children play at the park, or even watching a butterfly flutter through a field.

If you look at famous writers, and their habits, they all have things they do to get the creative juices flowing. Jodi Piccoult said she goes on a three-mile walk in the morning with a friend. Kurt Vonnegut had a routine of working in the morning, followed by doing his daily errands and exercising. Authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote wonderfully vivid tales, and based on their life’s history, did so, in part because they had such active social lives.

So, if you feel you’re lacking inspiration, head out of the house and sightsee at the mall, go gossip with your neighbor, or even just go hang out at the park. Though inspiration is codified while sitting at the screen, it rarely comes from staring at it. 

If you’re looking for more information on ways to feel inspired and creative, check out these two very interesting articles on when our brains feel most creative:

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