Thursday, May 19, 2011

On Inspiration....

This is actually a re-post from another blog I guested at a few months ago, but I thought I'd share it here too, since I've been struggling so much with inspiration lately. I'll share my top five inspiration sources as a writer, and then, maybe at the end, you can leave a comment about things that inspire you.

Source #1: People Well, I guess that’s not much of a surprise. I confess, I am definitely one to slobber over celebrities to get my inspiration fix. Daniel Craig has inspired pages and pages of my writing. Ever notice how many of my Doms have blond hair and blue eyes? Colin Firth, Gerard Butler, and Gregoire Colin also float my boat, and sometimes capsize it. But I am inspired by a lot of real life friends too. Club Mephisto was inspired by a friend who actively seeks to train and mentor other people in the BDSM lifestyle. Fortune was inspired by a friend who dabbled in origami and shibari. Until I met her, I didn’t see how naturally the two combined. Other friends have inspired me in myriad ways, exposing me to kinks and viewpoints I never even considered. Without my awesome, creative, sexy friends, I would be lost as a writer.

Source #2: Movies Do you ever walk out of a movie theater completely buoyed up and energized by the artistry you just experienced? I love that feeling. I’ve been deeply touched by a lot of movies in my lifetime. Some that stand out in my mind are The Double Life of Veronique, Hotel Splendide, and La Belle Noiseuse. Theater productions can be even more inspirational because the actors are right there, nearly close enough to touch. I still remember productions of The Fantasticks, Sweeney Todd, and my ultimate favorite, Sunday in the Park with George. Sigh. George was so Dom and Dot was so submissive in her vanilla way. I saw that when I was fifteen or so, and it remains an inspiration to this day. There’s just something about a good film or theater production that makes you want to create your own inspired work.

Source #3: Music Just as I’ve had books inspired by people, I’ve also have books inspired by songs. Caressa’s Knees was largely inspired by The Magnetic Field’s song 100,000 Fireflies. I listened to a lot of Beck while I was writing Deep in the Woods, and a lot of Liz Phair when I was writing my upcoming release Owning Wednesday. I think perhaps music stimulates some subconscious part of our brain and frees up those creative juices. I don’t know. All I know is that sometimes I’ll hear a really good song and next thing I know, a story is taking shape.

Source #4: Places I know I’m not the only author to be inspired by places. You only have to look in the “travel writing” section of your library to see that. But the wonderful thing about places is that they affect everyone differently. I’ve been places that didn’t seem to move my companions at all, but felt especially magical or compelling or depressing to me. Sometimes even a photo of a place online can inspire me. I wrote all of Lily Mine with a picture of a country estate as my desktop wallpaper. This place became Lilyvale in my mind, although I’ve never been there and probably never will even know the real name of the place. The story of Deep in the Woods coalesced in a moment when I came upon a shaded, picturesque clearing on a hike. It was beautiful, but it had some hint of menace to me, perhaps because of the jagged, sagging branches overhead. I immediately thought of someone struggling for their life there. I never know when or why a place might trigger a story for me, but I try to explore as many disparate places as I can.

Source #5: Life I guess this is a little obvious, sure. But in your day to day activities, do you ever pause just to observe life going on around you? What do you see? A look, a secretive glance? A person laughing or crying? Someone who seems desperate or devastated, or blissfully tuned out? Do you ever watch people and play your own game of “Dom, sub, or switch?” I do. There is so much to see if you just take the time to look. A lot of writers go to people-watch at malls or airports, but for my money you can people-watch almost anywhere. Sometimes you even feel obliged to stick your neck out and ask questions or get involved in the life you’re observing. That’s when the real fun starts.

Inspiration is something you have to look for, but once you get good at it, it’s not that hard to find. So what has inspired you today? What has been the most inspirational event of your life? Have you ever inspired someone? I hope so. It’s true what they say…inspiration is a gift.


  1. Annabel,

    All of those things can inspire me, but I also find inspiration in silence. When I was a kid, we lived down a dirt road with a quarter-mile of open desert for a front yard. The Las Vegas Strip was only five or six miles down the road and the flight path for the Thunderbirds (Air Force) went right over our house. But at night, with no lights on and nothing but the quiet surrounding you, the sounds you could pick up held a wealth of inspiration.
    I think that's why I like to find someplace quiet, late at night, and just sit in the dark.