Tag Archives: inspiration

Attraction, Inspiration, and Crap I Found on the Road

Here’s the weirdest thing I’m willing to tell you about myself: I collect stuff off the street. Metal stuff, mostly, that looks like it fell off a vehicle.

It’s not as weird as it… okay, it is, but I can explain. I walk a lot. Like, almost every day, weather and health permitting. In the summer I have a lovely local boardwalk around a pond I can visit. And if I’m in the mood for treasure hunting, there’s a rocky beach not far away where I can find sea glass handmade by the ocean from the beer bottles people toss off of the nearby scenic lookout.

But winter means wandering the streets. Not much to see there.

Except that one day I noticed a ball bearing at my feet. I picked it up thinking one of my kids would find it cool. Trucks are kind of his thing.

And I liked it. It felt nifty in my hand. Really smooth and heavy and different.

So I kept it, and decided it would be fun to keep my eyes open for more (while trying not to worry about whatever vehicles were shedding these things around town). Sort of like wandering the beach looking for sea glass and shells, but more casual.

…And with more potential judgement from passing drivers who saw me bending over to pick up dirty metal garbage, but whatever. I have zero reputation to maintain, as far as I know.

Long story short, once I started looking, I started seeing. A lot of it was stuff I definitely didn’t want. Plastic bits (I mean, please, I DO have standards). Other crap that blew out of someone’s trash bags on garbage day.*

But I sometimes find what I’m looking for.

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I mean, not to brag, but guys? I’m kinda the Little Mermaid of crap that fell off of poorly-maintained vehicles. You want thingamabobs? I’ve got… well, three, but I’m getting more. Soon.

There is a point to all of this.

The thing is, I never saw any of this stuff lying around before I started paying attention to it. Just like how I rarely found sand dollars on the beach in Nova Scotia until I decided my prize was there if I kept my eyes open. After that, it was rare that I didn’t go home with at least one.

Same with sea glass.

Same with inspiration.

There was a time when I clung tight to the one story idea I had because I thought it was all I was ever going to get. This was THE THING. The story I had to make absolutely perfect because there was no guarantee that the well went deeper than this. I was miserly. I gave up frequently because the one perfect idea in my head never came out right on paper, and OH GOD WHAT IF I BREAK IT?!

Now? Now I believe ideas are everywhere, just waiting to be spotted. I don’t expect them to be served to me on a silver platter, though sometimes they are.** But I trust that if I keep my eyes open, if I believe inspiration is out there, my brain is capable of taking two random things I’ve seen and making something brilliant out of them.

Or something that’s the equivalent of plastic crap, but the point is that the treasures are out there. But I will never see them if I don’t walk around with my eyes and my mind open, believing they’re there.

I worry less about taking a chance and messing up, because there’s more.

I think this applies to a lot of other things in life, too. Like opportunities. Now, big opportunities are more frequent and easier to accept for some people than others, no question. Different people will have different doors opening for us, and not everyone gets kicked out of the nest with a great education or a “small” loan from his or her parents or a rolodex full of high-rolling contacts. But we all make choices that affect us, and we will have some kind of opportunity for something. But will we see it if we have our eyes closed, expecting nothing good come to us? Or worse, if we believe we don’t deserve opportunities?

I’m guilty of that one, and I’ve likely overlooked a lot of chances for success because I thought they weren’t meant for someone like me. But the times when I have believed in myself and been open to opportunity–to saying no to agents and publishers and going it alone, for example, or to joining in on a *shudder* group project with other amazing authors–have been very rewarding.

And if I believe that I don’t only get one shot, that success is not my only motherf*$%in’ option (contrary to what one Eminem might preach in that one very catchy tune) because I will see other opportunities, I can relax about messing up, take more chances, and dream bigger.

Or luck. If I believe I’m lucky and define luck as finding ball bearings on the street, look how lucky I am! If I believe I’m unlucky and won’t find any, I suspect the odds of me seeing them drop significantly. I just won’t be looking for them if I don’t believe I’m lucky enough to have them appear in my path.

What if I broadened my definition of luck? What if I embraced it and didn’t feel guilty about believing I’m lucky/smart/observant/whatever word I choose for it, and really stayed open to what might be out there?

I don’t know a lot about this law of attraction and manifestation stuff so many of my online acquaintances talk about all the time. Do I think the universe is a big genie waiting to grant my wishes if only I focus hard enough on what I want? Do I think opportunity and inspiration and luck and MASSIVE WEALTH spontaneously appear because I desire them enough?

Not really, no.

BUT.

I do see the underlying, practical logic of it. The psychology of it, maybe. If I focus on the good things in my life, if I’m grateful for what I have, I’m going to be more aware of them. Kind of like how you never notice blue Volkswagens until you buy one, and then they’re everywhere. They were there all along. You didn’t call them into being because you were thinking about them. You simply see what you’re paying attention to.

Inspiration.

Opportunities.

Luck.

Metal crap on the street, man.

So no, I’m not going all woo-woo mystical and trying to like… vibrate… or whatever it is. But I think, thanks to a ball bearing I almost kicked into the gutter a few months ago, that I kind of get it.

Good things are out there. Utter crap is out there, too, if we’re being honest. But I’m trying really hard to stay focused on the good.

Because what I focus on is what I see. It’s what I get more of.

I’m just keeping my eyes open.

——

*Though true story, I once saw an empty Vienna sausage can in a snowbank and sincerely hoped–and still hope–that my mental image of some guy wandering down main street casually sucking tiny processed meat sticks directly from the can as he strolled along and then tossing the garbage aside is accurate. It could happen.

*In bed, once. You can’t beat that kind of service.


The Next Big Thing (and the Pain of Beginning)

I’m going to keep this short, because I have places to be. Things to do. People to create.

Yep. Starting a new project today. This one is a story concept that came to me as I was falling asleep one night back in the fall (summer? I dunno), and I somehow hung onto it until morning. I made notes and had to set it aside to get Sworn finished and then to participate in the Skeleton Key book series. No regrets about either of those things, obviously, but I’m SO glad to finally be getting to this one.

And yet… It’s always hard to start. No matter how much preparation I do, how solid my outline is, how well I think I know my characters, or how excited I am about this story, it’s hard. My brain wants to procrastinate.

One more cup of tea.

I should call the insurance company about the thing and probably make that optometrist appointment I’ve neglected for three years.

I should work on that character’s motivations more.

I could start tomorrow…

Nope. I’ve done this enough times to know that it won’t be easier tomorrow. That blank page is going to be intimidating no matter how prepared I am. My characters are going to surprise me and take the story places I didn’t expect, even if I plan every scene down to fill-in-the-blanks level.

It’s not going to come out the way I want it on the first draft if I start it today, tomorrow, or two weeks from now.

And the best way to get over this fear is to just start writing.

Wish me luck.

Screenshot 2016-03-07 08.51.12

 


Super Quick Wednesday Stuffs

Quick, because I need to outline and write another scene before I start cooking supper in an hour. Totally not going to happen, still going to try!

ROW80 Update:

I broke 14,000 words for NaNoWriMo this morning, which was nice. I got NO words yesterday (school event in the morning, guilt over housework in the afternoon, boot-buying mission after school, “V for Vendetta” at night), so it felt good to get two scenes in this morning that I was excited about. I met a new character, too, who was a lovely surprise. Her name is Griselda Beaumage, and she’s a blond sorceress who wears high boots and leather pants. She has a French accent and coined the word “Sorchere” this morning (combination of “sorciere” and “chere”). I don’t know where she came from, but I’m kind of in love.

I think it’s because I put lipstick on to make my muse feel special. I’ll have to keep doing that.

So there we go. We’re going away on Saturday evening, so that’ll put a dent in my productivity (and my ability to participate in the NaNoWriMo marathon). But darn it, I’m going to take my computer and write while we’re away. This book is exploding with bright, shiny things, and I’m not going to leave it alone until this draft is finished.

For more ROW80 goodness, click here!

WIPpet Wednesday

I guess I should put something up, but there’s no time to edit. Ack. Here’s the first 6 paragraphs of the scene where Griselda introduced herself, for the 6th of October. Sorry for the first-draftiness, but I have Things of Great Importance to do…

The lights dimmed, allowing gloom to creep into the corners of the classroom.  A breeze whispered past my ear, and a pale apparition appeared at the doorway. Smoke at first, nearly invisible, but solidifying into the form of a bright green dragon. Every part of it was beautiful, from the arch of its snake-like neck to the way the sunlight from the windows reflected off of its overlapping metallic scales.

The creature came closer, neck and back arched, nostrils flaring, steam rising from its mouth. Bright red eyes locked on mine. It lifted a foreleg to paw at the air, and took a few more steps, until it stood nose to nose with me where I sat frozen on the professor’s desk at the front of the room. The scaled lips rolled back, baring vicious fangs that dripped with an unfamiliar poison.

“Can I touch her?” I asked.

“Give it a try.”

I reached out, and my hand passed through the steam unharmed. The dragon snapped at me, and its teeth closed together over my wrist without resistance. The dragon’s flesh looked as real and solid as my own, but I felt nothing.

“Incredible,” I whispered.

Join the fun, or just see what those crazy WIPpeteers are up to here! Thank you, KL Schwengel, for hosting even when life is hitting you hard. ❤

And with that, I leave you. Let me know what you’re up to this week! WriMos, are you participating in the marathon on the 9th? Anyone doing word sprints on Twitter? Everyone else care to share what’s happening these days? Want to lie on the couch, talk about your mother? HMMMM?

Thanks for stopping by!


Finding your Genius

Love this talk from Elizabeth Gilbert.


Idea! *boing boing boing*

I may or may not act like Tigger when I’m excited. Don’t judge.

Mmmmmm… What’s better than a new idea? I’ll tell you: a developing idea. One that smacked you out of the blue one day while you were out for a walk, that’s been festering quietly for months, occasionally tapping you on the shoulder to get some attention, only to be told, “Not yet.”

Then one day you give in, you break out the idea development notebook (or binder, computer file, back-of-napkin, whatever), and it starts to really take shape.

I have an idea. A fun concept involving ghosts and muses and romance and mysteries. It’s even set in our world, so it’s significantly different from my other novels.

Will it be brilliant? Probably not. But damn, it’s going to be fun!

Now if I could just finish figuring out the plot…


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