When Inspiration Flies

Someone once said that when you are not inspired, you expire. I think they are right. As a writer, one of the worst moments of life is the disease called “Writers Block”. It usually does not come when you don’t need to write. No, it patiently waits for that moment when you need to say something and then, like a scared bird – off it flies.

So, what do you do to bring back a flying bird? Well, very little, except of course you have a trap set and knows what that bird likes – like its favourite food. Then, you can set your trap, bait it with the favourite food, then put on your hunting hat and dark goggles and hope that it comes flying by.

With writing its usually like that. Writers usually get blocked after failing to read. The best way to inspire yourself is to read what others have written. The day you stop reading is the day you turn the first sod to your own literary grave. Most accomplished writers would have more than one book opened while they are writing. Because you never know which of those authors would kindle that spark of inspiration by a word, a phrase or a sentence.

On a personal note, when I hit the block, I go for my radio. I listen to the BBC at least once in a day. Its not just because I was at one time a homebody, I believe they are a brand that have what others lack – a good dose of objectivity. Listening to global news helps me to position my thoughts on how events or happenings in other parts of the world affects me or my immediate society.

I also like to take a walk. I have always believed in the French advert of an old bathing soap – Ushuia long before I knew it was the name of a place. The French version said – tout le monde est source de beaute (the whole world is source of beauty). I find that practically true. The other day, I was working on a protracted 3D animation and needed materials to colour my drawings. I remembered that the building where I was had this glass colours that could be used as a wall. I also went for a beautiful tiling at the entrance to the college library. After taking these shots and mailing them to myself, I was able to beautify my creation. So, next time you are facing that project, or term paper and all else seem not to work, remember that the whole world is full of inspiration.

Nowadays, we all walk around with our whole lives in our pockets – yes, your mobile phone. I found out that the mobile phone is a source of inspiration. What, its got games which players swear can bring out the best in you. For me, its the other apps, the dictionary app for instance – Dictionary.com is awesome for one word per day, etymology and a whole host of other things. But the most inspiring part of my phone is the embedded camera. When it moves me, I just take pictures of anything that catches my fancy. It doesn’t have to make sense there and then, it may six months later when you need it. But be careful, there are laws guarding the taking of pictures in public. Check them out and familiarise yourself with your environment – ignorance of the law is not an excuse.Image

My shot of Bayview, Ottawa…an incredibly awesome view from the O’Train station.

Okay, this may not work for everyone, but I love to talk. Most journalists actually do. This is why I love some societies more than others. In most African countries for instance, I have found that where the language permits, I could unburden my entire heart to a total stranger and watch them listen not just with attention but with pity or concern. Maybe that doesn’t work everywhere especially in cities where everyone is in a hurry to go to nowhere. But, there’s no harm in trying. Talking to people on something (yes just anything actually) can help unburden your heart (and your pen or keyboard). But don’t just be a talker, be a listener too. By listening to what others have to say, you can be inspired.

So, next time writers block comes with its bland wall, walk through it and rediscover your inspiration.

 

Using Social Media Beyond School

From the tool of social interaction that it was originally set out to be, social media has transformed into the oxygen of our daily lives. We encounter it everywhere we go and cannot deny its influence either on politics, economy or commerce. Most businesses worthy of their calling today have a website and a rash of social media buttons asking its customers and clients to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ their strides.

Interactive Multimedia Developers who are the midwives of modern communication are doomed if they do not seize and lead the trend. Our clients make a demand of us that can largely be met only via social media feeds. They want to reach that avalanche of social media users with their products and services. We must not just agree with them, we must point them to it.

As an IMD graduate, social media is a veritable tool for professional and self-advancement. Platforms like LinkedIn advertise a professional’s potential linking them with those who might need their services. Facebook helps keep friends and colleagues closer, while Twitter invites our thoughts to embrace concision.

YouTube, Vimeo are channels for us to advertise motion graphic expertise. Soundcloud helps us display our proficiency in sounds or sell audio products. Writing a regular blog requires dedication, consistency and a sense of responsibility to our readers. They all help us to reach our publics far and near.

Whether for branding, advertising or keeping tab with changing trends, social media is the open key to currency and relevance. It is here to help us and we should be there to exploit its potentials to the fullest.Image

Inspiration? Check Your Workspace

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Have you ever imagined what kind of workspace inspires the irrepressible questions that makes Frank Olize, Larry King and Lyse Doucet thick? What about the things that make Dan Agbese’s biting humour delightful? How many grammar books has Farooq Kperogi devoured for his grammar columns?

I have only met a few of the people mentioned above, their works advertise them. Olize was that enterprising Nigerian Television Authority, NTA newscaster who popularized Newsline. Mr. King was virtually baptized Larry King Live. He interviewed everyone and everything including animals on set. Liz is a master of her at either on BBC television or radio.

How much does their workspace inspire them? I can only imagine. From my recollections of our days at Oregun near Lagos, Mr. Agbese read one book at a time but he had one of the cleanest desk in the news directorate. He was always first to buy the latest communication gadget and to master its use.

The restlessFarooq, always loved research – so little wonder he’s wound up in the academia. I can’t imagine his desk cluttered with all the awards he’s won in the course of his work. He’s too dainty for that stuff. Most media people don’t have time to take shots of their desks or workspaces.

Oh me? Sorry, since I can’t afford a desk or office space, I sometimes work on the bus, in the washroom or in front of the tv. My tools are my phone; before I got an iPad present from my lovely wife. Now I can choose among two computers, an android phone that lets me take notes or an iPad. And there you have it.