Monday, July 2, 2018
Double, Double Toil &Trouble - #3 Inspiration
There are two ways for me to tackle this particular topic: the every-writer-way and the erotic-writer-way. Most times, when I get asked about inspiration, it's usually some creepy dude who has just found out that I write erotic romance who, in a snickering weirdo way, says, "Hey, hehe, where do you get all those sexy ideas from, huh?" And then they proceed to make a whole lot of assumptions about me, my life, and my threshold for bullshit. (I'm generalizing to creepy guys here because, in my many experiences, it has never been a woman who has asked me anything remotely close to this.)
So let's just get this out of the way right off the bat, shall we? Erotic writers have many sources of inspiration for writing sexy scenes. A lot of it comes from our imaginations (because they're vivid and typically not impeded by hangups), some if it comes from porn, some of it from reading erotica and immersing ourselves in the genre. Writing sex scenes is a lot of hard work and demands a different kind of creativity than other kinds of scenes because the sex usually comes with relationship building and with heavy emotions and also, at times, with a lot of baggage. I'm not always in the mood to write these kinds of scenes so I will, at times, outline it and leave it until the ideas start to play out more visually for me...then it's time to write. Or sometimes I rough it out and add more vivid detail later. For this kind of inspiration I usually have to go hunting (pictures, videos, conversations, stories)...research is key and curiosity is also important.
Inspiration for all other things is slightly different because I typically don't have to go searching for it. This kind of inspiration usually comes at odd random times. For example, I can be having a conversation about something totally unrelated to writing when an idea strikes me for a story. Or a plot hole is fixed because of something I saw someone do. There was one time that I needed a name for a character but nothing was really fitting. I was at work having a conversation with a colleague and he started talking about his fitness instructor and her name was exactly what I needed.
This kind of inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes you're looking for it, sometimes you're not. But I find that if you're open to it, it'll come one way or another.
Now, I'm not talking about the muse. I detest the whole idea of a muse. I would never give the power of my writing over to a non-existent entity...because once you do that, similar to writer's block, you lose control over your process. If the muse decides to stop talking, then you suddenly aren't writing. No thanks...that's horseshit if you ask me and another way to excuse yourself when you're procrastinating.
Inspiration, however, is not a muse...it's just there, all around you, you just have to be ready for it and open to the ideas. To do that you have to be actively in the writing mindset, which means, yes, you have to be writing consistently.
What I remember, when I first started down the rabbit hole of writing, was always feeling a panic about whether or not I'd have another idea for a novel once I'd finished with the one I was working on. I would also be like, what happens if I finish this and there's just nothing new for me to work on? I can tell you that that just doesn't happen. I'm always working on writing in some way. And sometimes I'll go for a month or so in between projects when my brain just needs some chill time, but I always come back to it with fresh ideas. And plot snags? They're not problem in the long run because my brain is always working them out behind the scenes. I'm a firm believer that if you let your brain stir around, eventually something will come out that makes sense. When I was in university I used to do all my research over a few days and then I'd let it stew in my mind and I'd always come up with an interesting thesis statement after I'd slept on it.
So, what am I saying about inspiration? Keep your senses open. Listen to conversations, watch what people do. Read books (especially in your genre). Get to work and be open to whatever comes your way. And if that doesn't work, go buy a story prompt book, there are tons out there or google story prompts and get writing that way.
Also, read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Her ideas about creativity are interesting...not always in line with mine but it's worth a read.
Being inspired doesn't keep you motivated but it does give you a spark...then it's up to you to put your ass in that chair and get to work.
The next post will be about outlining and recommended reads for writers so stay tuned for that in a couple of weeks!