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.
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.