Mark Terry

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


January 10, 2011
I've been looking for inspiration.

No, not looking for ideas for stories. I'm looking for a broader type of inspiration - the type that gets you up in the morning eager to get to work.

For seven years that's rarely been a problem, no matter what type of writing projects I've been working on. I always looked forward to getting into the office.

Starting this year, less so. Some of it is simply that it's winter and I'm not that eager to get out of a nice warm bed. Some of it, though, is a little more problematic.

I know some of you dream of being a full-time writer. I was for years. I spent most of my free time writing. At lunch, in the evenings, on the weekends.

Then I became a full-time writer and for the most part, I was still eager to write all the time. But that's hard to do. Really. And writing for a living often means you have to write things you're not really all that excited about writing. I'm careful to point out that I can often be interested about things intensely while I'm working on them, but they may not necessarily be intrinsically interesting to me. In other words, once I'm done working on them, I go off and pursue passions, rather than "interests."

I think I may have returned to a little earlier time now, a time when I wanted to focus more of my energies on fiction of one sort or another. I definitely find if I don't, the rest of the writing thing becomes work. If I just carve out some time to work on fiction, fit it in as a priority, then I get to my desk with enthusiasm.

I'm currently working on a short story, "Humanitarian Aid" and a novel, THE SINS OF THE FATHER. Both have been limping along for a while, but by pushing deeper into both of them, I seem to have found that enthusiasm for writing that seemed to be lacking. Perhaps it was all there to begin with, but I just wasn't giving it enough time to get into the zone. (Or I just really need a real vacation).

What do you do to find inspiration?

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Blogger pyoder said...

Science. Reading books about psychology, computer science, statistical studies like freakonomics... the world is a surprising place, and getting exited about the unexpected really inspires me to portray things in a different way. Thanks for the post!

7:35 AM  
Blogger Indigo said...

Ah, I've been in that place this past year. So far I'm learning life will always be in the way and absolve to test my limits. If I want to write I have to learn to write on life's terms.

As for inspiration...kind of goes hand in hand with those life's terms. I'm learning to use it to my advantage and allow myself to delve fully into what is offered. Every pain, sorrow, love, redemption becomes a discovery of character nuances. (Hugs)Indigo

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I'm not much good at finding inspiration. When I have time to work on fiction I feel inspired, when I don't have time the inspiration seems to go away. I can't say legal writing ever inspires me. Making enough money to live on certainly inspires me, in a sense. When I am doing the legal writing I am deeply interested in it to the extent I am trying to get it right. But, as you say, it doesn't have any intrinsic interest to me.But when I get bored writing about Damages or Insurance I remind myself that I could still be trapped every day in the toxic madhouse of a corporate office. And I am definitely inspired to never return.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Since I write about medicine and science a lot, I'm not sure it inspires me to write fiction. But reading something like histories, politics, art, anthropology and archaeology CAN create a lot of inspiration.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Well, yes, there is a definite pragmatic aspect to life when it comes to making a living in any aspect of the arts. A lot of musicians play weddings and teach lessons and a lot of photographers shoot weddings and high senior class portraits. A lot of writers write articles and white papers, etc., to give them time to pursue their "art" whatever that is.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Definitely. Need a T-shirt, A Bad Day At My Office Is Still A Better Day Than At Your Office.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Alan M. Ehrlich said...

Inspiration? I just open my eyes. That allows me to open my mind's eye, and that allows me to open my "I" to everything my eye and my mind's eye see. Inspiration is all around us--if we just allow our eyes to do their job. Without an open "I," the open eye has no vision. "There are none so blind as those who will not see." That said, we all need our sleep, who here sleeps with eyes open?

2:23 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Alan? What've you been smoking?

2:29 PM  
Blogger dperdue6865 said...

I find that inspiration can be like the old joke: "What's the difference between a bitch and a whore? A whore will sleep with everyone, a bithc will sleep with everyone but you!". Aside from that, inspiration for me comes from the little things in life. Things like watching squirrels run in my backyard, looking at my wife, talking to family/friends, and sometimes playing video games. Sometimes, it is the mundane, every day living that fires in my mind.

2:49 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

As Eric said, a lot of times bills are my inspiration, but there's a difference between being forced to hit the desk and looking forward to hitting the desk. Good joke, though... the bitch.

5:47 AM  

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