Inspiration and Dedication: Creative Resources

For our post on Writing Well, Pennwriter Sue Lange comments, “[W]hat keeps me writing is that I keep getting ideas.”  Fortunately, this is true for most artists.  However, at some point we all could likely use a hand with inspiration and dedication in the pursuit of our creative work.

Below are a few resources to help keep your ideas flowing.  Please feel welcome to share your favorite sources of inspiration in the comments!

Inspiration

I personally agree with the concept that “art begets art.”  We artists are perpetually inspired by our contemporaries and predecessors; we are inspired by the same surroundings, situations, and human conditions.  Collaboration and exposure to the works of others is always a great way to spark inspiration.  Here are few places online to do just that:

Soul Food Café is a great, thriving community where writers and artists can gather to get inspired and get connected.  According to their website:

“The Soul Food Café is a portal for artists and writers alike. It is a safe haven where creativity flourishes. Soul Food Café aims to promote creative pursuits as a daily practice.”

Words of wisdom can also be a helpful source of inspiration.  One of our Area 6 members shared the Air Equation and Willpower Equation websites as a resource for quotes from the greats.  (You can also find these quotes syndicated each week in the Pennwriters discussion forum).

If you’re stuck with a piece of your writing, you may want to try a tool like Mark McElroy’s Bright Idea Deck.  This colorful deck of cards features a variety of images and a helpful workbook for problem solving.  You can use these exercises to help you get your stories and projects back on track.  Don’t know what your character should do next?  Draw a card and see what comes to you!

Finally, why neglect the obvious?  Your local museum, library, park, or forest are endless sources of inspiration.  Online there is a whole world of blogs, artist portfolios, and creative organizations positively brimming with fresh ideas.  Take a look around your world!

Dedication

Part of ensuring artistic growth is staying dedicated to your craft.  This can be a challenge when inspiration, time, and energy wane.  It can be helpful to take a little time to remind yourself of why you create, what makes it important to you, and what goals you set for your work.  Below are a few places to help you rededicate yourself to your creative activities:

Pennwriter Gretchen Lockwood recently shared the activity of “Finding and Naming Your Muse” with the Valley Forge critique group.  She had tried this exercise at another writers’ group with great success.  The idea resonated well for me (I seemed to blurt out a name as soon as she mentioned ‘name your muse’), so I performed a quick google today and found a couple links to get you started.  Whether you choose to follow these suggestions step-by-step, or find that your muse just “comes to you,” a muse can be a helpful tool for visualization.

Dr. Leslie Owen Wilson, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, offers a massive collection of creativity resources.  Included among them is a series of articles on “Finding and Caring for Your Muse.”

For those of you who don’t read Lorelle on WordPress, she is an excellent resource for blogging tips, tricks, and ideas (and that goes for writing too).  Check out the article “7 Ways to Find Your Blogging Muse”  by engtech of Internet Duct Tape (There are ideas in there for more than just bloggers.)

About ten years ago a dear friend gave me a copy of Affirmations for Artists by Eric Maisel.  This was my first introduction to the formal idea of “affirmations,” and I continue to find this book to be extremely helpful.  This is the kind of book you pick up and set down at various times throughout your career.

Finally, setting and reviewing goals is an obvious way to help you stay dedicated to your work.  Create manageable goals which stretch you a little.  Don’t kick yourself when you don’t reach a goal: periodically revise your list and start fresh each time.  If the goals were all easy to complete, they wouldn’t offer much of a challenge!

Your turn: where do you go to renew inspiration and dedication for your creative work?  Tell us in the comments!

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8 responses to “Inspiration and Dedication: Creative Resources

  1. Every so often I open my email, like today, and get an acceptance letter for one of my pieces! I sold a second Cup of Comfort story.Nothing inspires and encourages me more than that!

    Go Pennwriters!

    babs

  2. Congrats Babs! That’s fantastic news! A little reassurance sure goes a long way, eh?

    jlb

  3. When I wrote Hundreds of Resources for Finding Content for Your Blog, there were not a lot of options for finding content to help you generate ideas for blog posts. Now they are millions of sources of inspiration.

    And yet, I find incredible inspiration in the little things, the things that inspired writers for thousands of years. A moment shared. A conversation overheard. A glance down a new street. A journey. A unroutine routine event. A friend. A family member. The littlest of things can be inspiration for writing. You never know where the next moment will come from, so you have to keep yourself open – and always carry a notebook so the moment won’t be lost. :D

  4. Excellent points Lorelle – especially with regard to “the little things.” And thanks for the reminder to carry pen and paper – it seems simple, but it can make a huge difference when inspiration strikes. ;)

  5. Regarding the Muse: It was kind of you to mention me, Jade, but though I took part in the conversation (“what is your Muse like?”) with glee, it was actually not me who started it! James Buescher was the instigator, as I recall, and Steve Thompson wrote a flash fiction about it!

  6. Alas, my memory fails me! Thanks for setting us straight Gretchen. All the same… you were there! (Plus, you encouraged me to follow my instincts on my first reaction to “name my muse!” )

  7. Pingback: Blog Challenge: Where Do You Consistently Find Inspiration? « Lorelle on WordPress

  8. Thanks for the website mention. I found out this post while researching backlinks from my website. Pennwriters: sharing links to each others’ websites helps boost traffic and search engine rankings for both parties!

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