Sunday, June 29, 2008

What Moves The Muse

I recently completed an interview for a fellow author's blog (I'll post a link when the interview goes up) where one of the questions asked me what inspires my writing - the context of her question was basically asking what I use to put myself in the mood for writing.

We all find inspiration in different ways. Where we find it isn't nearly as important as making sure we never stop looking for what unleashes our own creativity. That said, I thought I'd list what awakens my muse. I found that I have a pretty eclectic range of what inspires me to spill words onto a page.

MUSIC: I've always been inspired by music. I grew up with a classical musician for a father and I didn't even know pop music existed until I was in fifth grade. We listened to classical, classical, and more classical and in the absence of words, I learned to hear the voices of the instruments tell their story. I'm never far from my iPod and I have nearly 6000 songs on it at the moment, many of them soundtracks or instrumentals. The stories within the music inspire me to write something that matches the mood of the song. When I'm working on a novel, I choose two or three albums that I only listen to while writing that project. A few chapters in and just the sound of that album instantly puts me into the world of my novel.

Some music I'm currently using for my writing: Batman Begins soundtrack, Nightwish Poet and Pendulum (instrumental version), Fallen by Evanescence, and Resident Evil soundtrack.

ART: I love losing myself in a picture that tells a story. My favorite art pieces are mysterious, haunting, and sometimes slightly disturbing (at least to others. lol) I like art where I can imagine what lives around the corner or what happens next. The right art puts me in the mood to write something that matches the tone of the picture or sculpture.

Some art I have in my writing space: dragon sculptures where the dragon is definitely on the warpath and planning to start his evening off with Fricasse of Tasty Peasant, wrought iron candle holders in the shape of Celtic crosses, a calendar of real-life castles, a sepia-toned framed picture where an ornate rusty gate opens to a path winding through a tangled forest and then disappearing into the distance, illustrated books on Ireland, China, and medieval myths, and a Thomas Kinkaid Victorian Evening print.

PHRASES: I've been a love of words since I was a small child. Usually to the dismay of my teachers. lol. I used to keep spiral-bound notebooks full of lists of words that I loved. Hearing a phrase that catches my imagination can easily turn into a poem or story idea or another chapter in my WIP.

NATURE: I'm often inspired by what I see out my front door. I'm really not a flowers and flowing grasses kind of girl. I'm much more interested in the clouds that press against the horizon, sealing us off from the rest of the world, or the burning moon that looks like a half-lidded dragon eye glaring down at his prey.

EMOTION: There's a biggie. The darker emotion that hits me sometimes can be turned into fuel for creativity. Some of my best work comes from some of my darkest nights. I find satisfaction in taking what is painful and turning it into a piece of powerful beauty instead.

There's my short list of where I find inspiration for my creativity. Where do you find yours?


  1. Wonderful thoughts, C.J. I enjoyed hearing about what moves your creative spirit.

    Like you, I listen to music. I got into classical soon after I began writing. Vivaldi's Four Seasons is my favorite piece of music. I play it when I write, and it transports me instantly to another time and place.

    I smiled when I read that you have a Thomas Kinkade print in your office. I live in the town where he grew up and got his start. He put Placerville on the map. I intend to get published and carry on his efforts. :-)

  2. Life, music, nature..

    and the occasional run in with an idiot.

  3. Oh, I like Bluedragoon's comment enough to second it. =)

    My muse comes in many forms.

    Music is a good start, from classical and opera to alternative. My first novel came to me while I listened to a Celtic instrumental. I could see the scenes in my mind. Nature, always, as the idea for Wolf's Bane came to me by glancing at the full moon one night. hehe Art, because I wrote a photo essay on a friend's art piece and it developed into a novel five years later. People, because they're just so fascinating sometimes and say the most incredulous things. I'm also extemely fascinated by the human mind and how it works... or becomes dysfunctional.

    Oh, and whatever classes I'm taking. They always bring an element of themselves into my work.

    Great blog! Thanks for posting it. =)

  4. "the occasional run in with an idiot"...


    I think truly creative people learn to look for inspiration wherever they are.

  5. Music, nature, and reading really good books.


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