It's not just as writers but in every aspect of our lives we seek inspiration. We all want to catch the spirit, discover something new and surprise ourselves with discovery. This is true in business, as it is writing, and in both cases it can lift your work from everyday to extraordinary.
In a Galaxy, Far, Far Away...
The point is to go where you've never gone before, whether that be physically or metaphysically. I've given and taken a lot of inspirational workshops, and what you get out of that depends entirely on what you put in, because inspiration is the stuff of dreams, and what you dream makes you unique.
Some people benefit from a starting point. For instance: remember a time when your grandmother came to visit and something different happened. Think back to when your mother was your age: Was she happy? What did she look like? What was she doing? Relive a moment when you had to choose between two important things: Did you make the right choice? How did you make the decision?
My Great-Grandmother, Grandfather and Great-Uncles, 1912:
Passport Photo for passage on the Titanic
How Does It Feel to be in the Middle?
When you remembered your mom, what was your overriding emotion? Do you miss who she was then, admire who she has become? Are you angry over something that happened? Perhaps this emotion can change how you interact with your children now. Stay with the emotion and you can connect with what needs to happen now.
All stories have an ending and that's where the innovation comes in, the 99% sweat equity to your 1% inspiration. Even in business, I have found this method useful in moving ahead on a project. The most hard-headed people are driven by emotion, and it's that emotion that makes us open to a solution.
So, at a controversial board meeting, I showed them footage from Corporations and An Inconvenient Truth, and I explained that this is what the environmental community and perhaps people in general thought of them.
Naturally, it hurt to see themselves in this light, and they didn't want to leave a legacy like that to their grandchildren. So we held an open forum on what we could do, and the "Building a Sustainable Future" initiative was born. We ran community and education programs; partnered with environmental groups, government and schools; and funded environmental buildings, projects and films. Over the course of the next few years, this industry did a tremendous amount of good in environmental works, and the innovation continues.
As in Story, So in Life
In story-building, the emotion comes through character. What made you want to examine the aspects of your grandmother's visit? What sense of loss, love, longing, anger or regret made you want to remember her? This is the spine of your story. All else spins from this core. Make us care about your grandmother as a person, as who she is, and we will be engaged in the examination of the problem, the emotion that it evokes and the solution. This is no different from solving a business problem-- it's all about the caring.
The Building Blocks of Creative Inspiration:
Reflection-- Take the time to think about the issue from a new perspective.
Emotion-- How does the problem make you feel?
Innovation-- What revelations can solve the problem?
If a billion dollar industry can make a huge impact with a few minutes of reflection, imagine what you can do by making reflection part of your weekly habit. You might miss one episode of Big Bang Theory, but you can make a big bang in your own life and that of others if you take a time out to think about what is around you, how it makes you feel, and what you can do about it.