by Julie, still basking in the glow of being with the Wickeds for a few days

Last week I suggested to my artist niece that we go to the Museum of Fine Arts. “That would be great,” she said. “I need some inspo.”

I’d never heard the term, but I’ve obviously not been paying attention. If you look at #Inspo on Instagram there are 17.3 million posts using that hashtag. While a lot of the photos seem to be of too-thin women, there are others that I could consider inspirational. The beach. A beautifully set table. Artwork.

When I speak with artists wearing my teacher hat, I talk about the importance of artist dates with yourself to inspire the muse. I strongly suggest they go outside their discipline. Actors, for example, may find a museum or a cooking class to be helpful. As a writer, I find that a concert, a dance performance, or a museum refresh my artistic soul.

As a writer, inspiration is the spark that makes it all happen. I can have characters and setting, but I need something that inspires me to put it all together in a plot that works. That spark, my #inspo, is tough to come by. It is also one of the reasons hanging out with other writers is invaluable. When one of the Wickeds is brainstorming with me, they understand what I need. I don’t need them to write my book for me. I need them to give me an idea that sparks the book for me.

This is a subtle but important distinction. Barb Ross doesn’t talk to me about lobsters when she’s helping me with a Garden Squad idea. She talks to me about planting flowers on neglected graves. And voila.

Another source of inspiration for me is getting outside and taking a walk. The beach has a particular affect on my muse. Watching the waves come in, smelling the salt air, feeling the heat of the sun, seeing the blue of the sky melt into the ocean along the horizon. It all feeds my soul. #Inspo.

Spending three days with the Wickeds is different every year. But the one thing that is constant is the #Inspo I get from those five women.

Folks, where do you go for inspiration? If you were going to post a picture with the hashtag #Inspo, what would it be of?

13 Thoughts

  1. I’m with you with the ocean, Julie (as I was on Tuesday!), for inspiration, or almost anywhere with open skies. It opens my mind and my creative space.

  2. I love photography and can see using #inspo for many different kinds of pictures — flowers, a leaf, my dog Lily, people walking down the street. Brainstorming with writers is one of my favorite things to do.

  3. My Sisters in Crime chapter schedules “play dates” at non-writing related venues for this very reason. Last year we went to the Carnegie Art Museum. This year we’re doing a religious relic tour (that I will sadly miss because it’s the morning of my launch for HEAVEN HAS NO RAGE and I’ll be a tad busy).

    My #inspo picture would probably be something from the Laurel Highlands. I follow two feeds on Instagram and they always post beautiful images.

  4. I’m not sure what I do for inspiration. I do love spending time at the beach, not nearly as much as I should considering I’m only an hour away. And I miss the redwoods. I grew up camping in them, and I still love spending time with them, so I wish we had some around here in Southern California.

    1. I;ve never seen the redwoods, but would imagine they would inspire. I wonder if your teams and mudruns are what recharge you?

      1. I think my mud runs do some, yes. Definitely, the one at Camp Pendleton does since I spend the night before out of town and we are out in nature more than some of the others.

  5. I get inspiration from my garden and my friends. I also get a lot of inspiration from books and TV. So thank you all.

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