Happy New Year!
On this New Year's Eve day, I'm busy crunching year-end financials in preparation to go to quarterly tax-reporting. Author finances, however, are not the topic of the week at the SFF Seven. Instead we're discussing a much happier topic: sources of inspiration.
The two are somewhat tied together for me as I've spent the last two weeks refilling my creative well. I finished my revision of ONEIRA (final title to come) on December 15 and sent it off to my editor. Since then, I've taken a break from writing work - very unusual for me. The time has been consumed largely by Christmas prep, travel, visiting family, and doing business like the above crunching of year-end financials. Looking at this, I've realized that I've been relying on passive well-refilling: hoping that if I simply leave the creative well alone, that the vast water table of the universe will seep in and top that puppy off for me.
And, to some extent, that's true.
However, I'm realizing I haven't been following my new tenet of aggressively refilling the well. That would mean finding ways to actively pour juice into that well. And that's where inspiration comes in. What are my top three?
I'm putting a lot under this heading, much like my sibling-under-the-skin, Murderbot. One thing I have been doing is a full re-read of this excellent series by Martha Wells. Reading books - particularly brilliantly written ones by authors I admire - is a great source of inspiration for me. I also include listening to music under this heading. While road-tripping, I put my music library on All Songs Shuffle, which unearths interesting stuff I haven't listened to in ages. A Cat Stevens song - The Wind - turned up, so now I'm diving into a full Cat Stevens song shuffle. What an amazing songwriter, to communicate so much in so few words. Finally, I love watching movies for inspiration. I got a great idea just the other night from a movie and now I'm sizzling to write this series. Though it will have to wait, the sparkle of that excitement adds to my overall feeling of creative flow.
I'm fortunate to live in a beautiful place. My desk overlooks a spectacular view and my morning walk with the dog is replete with huge skies, distant mountains, and beauty of all kinds. I say I'm lucky to have this - and I am! - but I also sought out this place, because being outside in a beautiful place is super important to me. Just living here refills my well.
Longtime readers probably know that I'm an advocate of silence for creative flow. By this I don't necessarily mean the absence of ambient sound, though it sometimes means that for me. I'm talking primarily about the silence of the mind, the emptiness that allows creativity to flow in, that enables us to hear the voices scintillating through the veil, telling us their stories. Taking time off from the "noisier" parts of my life has been invaluable for that.
Huh... Turns out I've been doing better at aggressively refilling the well than I thought!
Best wishes for an inspiring 2024 for us all!