Oct 28, 2011

On Writing: The Omnipresent Muse

I hear it on every blog, on every thread, in every classroom:

Where does your inspiration come from?

As a writer (or an artist of any form, for that matter), I am expected to draw inspiration from sort of source, from some kind of muse, whether it is metaphysical or no more abstract than the stapler on my desk. 

But the point is, I'm supposed to get inspiration from somewhere

But what if I don't?

The hardest thing for me to describe as a writer is where my ideas come from. They do not form in any pattern or expand in any specified time frames. They are not items on a checklist or events to attend on a schedule.

They just are

They just come to be

And there has never been a way for me to adequately express that concept. Just the other day, my drama teacher asked the creative writers in his class how they think up names, as if the method of doing so is always and always will be something systematic

But for me, characters, worlds, plots...they've never been part of any sort of system. They just have been. They just will be. Right now, there are least ten different plots unraveling in my head. There always have been, for as long as I can remember. 

When I was a child--long before I had any notions of writing as an art--they were still there. They were different, of course. They weren't refined in any sort of way. They weren't edited to be shared (or decidedly left unedited for that same purpose). They just were

And they still are.

But really, how do I adequately describe such a concept to people whose ideas are not, to those who labor over creating plot lines and characters? How do I describe it to people who are not even creative writers? Frequently, it becomes a dilemma for me. I feel like saying "oh, it just comes to me" makes me seem like an arrogant novice. But what else do I say?

If not that, then I'd be lying. 

And what's worse? The arrogant novice or the liar? 

And what really complicates things is the fact that I know that my brain must go through similar processes of interpreting the world I experience and creating its own ideas from them--that subsequently lend to my imagined universes--just like everyone else

The problem is that I don't go through that actively. It happens so fast, I practically skip it altogether. It happens behind the scenes as opposed to being at the forefront, as opposed to being this whole, big, dreadfully important brainstorming step to writing that most people continually discuss.

And, in a way, that makes me feel left out. I see post after post after thread after thread titled "It's so hard to think of names" and "I'm so bad at world-building!"

And it stops me every single time. Because I don't think of names. I don't build the worlds. They're already there. 

I guess the best way to sum it up--in terms of the system I'm supposed to have--is that I have an omnipresent muse. It does not wax and wane. It does not brighten or fade. It is a muse whose inspiration never ceases. Not during my day or night. Not during my classes or free time. It strikes a constant stream of chords wherein each note becomes it's own reality. 

It never stops. 

On the one hand, I see that as a blessing. Because I will never run out of things to think about. I will never run out of stories to tell. On another, it's a curse. Because no matter what I do, I will never be able to tell you all everything. Ever. And what you will get from me will be so watered down that it won't even begin to compare with what it is my head. 

But to tell you everything that I have in my mind--at this exact point--would probably take longer than I even have at all. And even if I could possible manage to sum it all up in any forgivable time frame, by the time I finished explaining it all, I'd have double that waiting to be told. 

So, yeah. Writing. For me, it's kind of an unending quest. I have the muse that never fades, that never dies, that never goes away. 

But you know what? In the end, I don't think I'd give that up. For anything. 

- Nick

So, I'll guess I'll ask you guys the dreaded question then: Where do you get inspiration?

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