Can You Feel the Inspiration?

How often have you heard a song playing on the radio, watched a favorite movie, or been part of a conversation where the subject matter was so familiar, so woven into your memory that it transported you to a positive, pleasant, and comforting place in your mind? Do you find solace there? Do you feel waves of nostalgia and happiness wash over you? I do.

I'll give you a couple of examples to illustrate my point. While in college, my roommates and I (who are still good friends) would watch Braveheart and Independence Day repeatedly. I'd say almost everyday, one or the other movie was always on whenever any of us walked into our dorm room. It got to the point where we could all recite the dialogue ad nauseam. 

Obviously one of the most famous scenes in the movie Braveheart:

ID4- one of my favorite lines in the movie. 


Another example is the song Take On Me, by A-ha. Okay I'm aging myself here but this one is a classic. As MTV began to emerge as a musical powerhouse (long before they abandoned videos for trashy reality TV), I'd watch with amazement and thoroughly enjoyed A-ha's video blend of live action and animation (I also had a school boy crush on the girl in the video). 
A-ha's video, Take On Me:

My last example is Rob Dougan's Clubbed to Death, the Kurayamino Variation


While I was writing my novel, everyday before I put pen to paper, I would listen to the entire seven minutes of this musical masterpiece. It got to the point where anytime I heard even a snippet of this tune, I was ready to write (almost Pavlovian you might say). 

All of these examples or triggers you might call them, elicit an emotional response of positivity that allows me to tap into my creative side. Now I deliberately focus on the positive here because I believe you gain more by positive motivation rather than negative. I'll admit negativity is powerful and it can elicit tremendous feelings that can be utilized for creative purposes. I would warn you, though, that negativity has a tendency to distract and divert more than it does to motivate. 

Now you might have a knee jerk reaction of "I don't have anything like those triggers to draw upon". Perhaps, but if you gave it enough thought I believe you could find a wealth of positive triggers to use. Remember, it doesn't have to be a song or a movie, it could be a poem, a painting, a play, perhaps a joke or limerick  or even a dance or gesture. In fact there is quite a bit of research to show the sense of smell is the strongest sense in recalling past emotions.

So why do I bring all this up? Well one of the first lessons I learned studying to be a writer is 'write what you know.' I believe everyone's life contains volumes of stories - adventures just waiting to find expression. Friends and classmates would ask me 'where do you get your story ideas?' To me the answer is simple: my life, my experiences and my emotions, it's what I know. And it's a great place to start. Your life experiences are a great resource to find motivation and inspiration for future endeavors, because you experienced them. Who better to tell us about them than you? You see, it doesn't have to be through a written story, it can be through a painting, a sculpture, interactions, a hobby. Building new experiences upon positive older ones can and many times does create a positive loop you can use to improve your perspective, disposition, and outlook. 

As a writer I hope when someone reads my work they'll have the same positive reaction I do to my triggers. You might work in a different medium, but if you can reach your audience in a similar manner, well, to me that's an incredibly moving inspiration story. 


Thanks for reading. 
Questions and comments are welcome.

DouglasHClark.com


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