Ah, October, the best month in Chicago by far. Why might you ask? Well, that’s easy. Not only does it bring forth the most beautiful of seasons, autumn, and not only is it the month that my wonderful wife and I were married, but for thirty-one days we prepare ourselves for one of the best holidays in the world, Halloween. Every year, just about the time when the scary decorations are put on store shelves, a certain spark erupts in my belly, waking me from my slumber like some revenant crawling out of its grave. Sugared thoughts of frightening costumes, spooky lawn decorations and haunted attractions stir in my mind as I watch ghost shows, drink Octoberfest brews, and reread the classics such as Poe, Stoker and Shelley.
It’s also a peak time for me as an author. It’s as if my fingers are starved to devour the keyboard in order to spin tales that make blood curdle and spines tingle. Countless monsters are born, and even more victims slain across the pages of my works during this wonderful season. Yet, for as much as I could spend countless hours talking about my relationship with the holiday, babbling about the fire that Halloween lights under my cauldron, the excitement of it all also begs another question, one more so related to writing. What is it that makes writers tick?
Some writers are just always on. For them it’s a gift. They have this endless well of ideas and inspiration that allows them to constantly create at anytime, anywhere. For the rest of us however, creativity takes energy, stimulation and motivation. Even the most prolific writers of all time had habits that helped them create their best works. For T.S. Elliot, not only did he sneak away to a quiet porter’s lodge to write, but he also did so while wearing green ghoulish makeup that made him feel like a cadaver. For Faulkner, he wrote his bet works only after a glass or six of whiskey- the good stuff mind you. And as for H.P. Lovecraft, the man of weird fiction could only pen during the darkest hours of night in order to invent his Cthulhu mythos or legends of the Necronomicon.
So what is it that makes you excited to write? Perhaps it’s being somewhere special or reading a book that encouraged you to write in the first place? Being a writer, be it poetry, journalism, fiction, nonfiction, blogging, can be extremely challenging. What takes most people seconds to read may have cost you hours to write, and in those hours, you probably had to drive yourself to stay motivated. Sometimes it’s easy, but often, we must dig down deep and sip from that inspirational well that keeps us excited to create.
Recently, I read an article that had surefire ways to keep a writer motivated. In the column, there were tricks like creating tight deadlines, removing distractions, and forcing yourself to pen even when you were exhausted. While I agreed with what the author was trying to express, their suggestions sounded more like punishment than inspiration. Writers shouldn’t have to physically or mentally abuse themselves in order to create a great story, poem or blog- it’s quite the opposite.
Ultimately, all that we have to do is remember that writing is different for everyone. Simply know yourself, know what keeps you ticking, and use it to your advantage. Anything else is subjective.
So writers, the next time you are having trouble finishing a story, completing a blog or finding that last line of a poem that would really make your work feel complete, remember what makes you want to write. Go back and read your favorite book, visit that place that makes you feel alive, or in my case, listen to Halloween music in the middle of April. I think that you’ll find it truly works. Because so long as you find what makes you tick and continue to feed it, you’ll also find that you’re often writing your best works.
FUN FOR WRITER’S (Contests and Grants)
NEW VISIONS AWARD
NO ENTRY FEE.
STORIES OF RESILIENCE CONTEST
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THE FEMINIST WIRE GRANT
$10 ENTRY FEE. The winner will receive publication in The Feminist Wire and $200. The 1st runner up will receive publication in The Feminist Wire and $100. Deadline October 1, 2014. Submit up to 3 poems (no more than a total of 5 pages).
11 thoughts on “The Well of Inspiration”
I like your enthusiasm, Justin ! 🙂 And I agree entirely that the moment you construct a “this is what I must do” set of conditions around writing, you might as well forget it.
Halloween ? – in fact I wish it had never travelled down here. It’s entirely false – an appliquéd event. Aussies should never import other countries’ stuff: gives me the irrits big-time.
(P.S. You might want to remove one of the Ls from the great poet’s name …)
I enjoyed your comment, M-R! 🙂
Thank you both for the great replies. It’s tough staying enthused, but we must!
I can’t wait to hear more from you both M-R and Dina.
You should check out Dina’s site, Justin – full of the most beautiful shots and amazingly satisfying input !
I’m doing it now! Thanks for all the great comments and suggestions.
I agree on October being a great month simply because like you we got married in October. Found your post full of energy and enthusiasm, and thank you for posting such interesting links to competitions.
“While I agreed with what the author was trying to express, their suggestions sounded more like punishment than inspiration.”
That’s always been my problem with that kind of advice. To my way of thinking, why ruin with routine and masochism what’s supposed to be a pleasure, an intoxication, a catharsis. Why make it mechanical and draining when it’s supposed to be about passion. About satisfaction, about fulfilling a need, enjoying what you’re doing. Making it a chore would kind of kill the fun, for me. I almost want to say if the passion isn’t there to manifest what others can look upon as “discipline”, then there just wasn’t enough passion for it. No biggy, it’s just… the question of how bad you want it or need it is what it really boils down to for me. The answer… isn’t really something you can fake or argue with yourself about. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.
Haha, sorry for the minor tangent. You kind of got my mind churning, writing about something I think about pretty often. Shortened version: Awesome post 😀 . I’d have to say I more or less agree with you.
Please don’t apologize for the great reply. I always love hearing when someone else feels the way I do about writing, and I totally agree that writing shouldn’t feel like a painful task that you’re required to fulfill. It should be something you’re hungry for. Great comment and please stop by any time!
Merci for following 24/7 in France, author of “Solitary Desire-One Woman’s Journey to France” See video http://youtu.be/xG_YTa5sDac and wishing you all the best!
btw great profile pic