Let’s talk inspiration. Every once in awhile I’ll have that magic moment where the clouds open and the angels sing and a voice from somewhere beyond bestows upon me the best idea ever for a play.
That doesn’t happen very often.
More often than not I’m stumping to my laptop, grumbling as I turn it on and banging the keys as hard as I can. But I do it. And I keep doing it. And after awhile I’m glad I made the choice to stump and grumble and bang. I’m always glad.
Because if I waited around for the inspiration fairy to sprinkle me with dust I would be waiting forever.
Do you believe in inspiration? Is it important to your process?
If you like waiting for inspiration and those visits are far and few between, get proactive. Create an inspiration file where you collect anything that gives you inspiration. Pictures, headlines, articles, lyrics, poems, scraps of paper you’ve written overheard lines on. Gather everything in one place.
This can be an actual physical object (an accordian file or scrap book) or something digital like Evernote. You could just collect pictures on your phone with Instagram. Whatever works for you. If you need to be inspired to write, start gathering inspiration so that you never have to wait to write again.
Another thing you can use for inspiration is yourself. But instead of write what you know, hone in on your point of view, your opinion, your take on issues, ideas and topics. Use these sentence starters to get the ball rolling:
- I firmly believe that….
- I wish that I would….
- I never have….
- I always…
- The thing that makes me the most angry is…
- The thing that makes me the most sad is….
- The thing that makes me the happiest is…
- My opinion on the environment is…
- My opinion on religion is….
- My opinion on politics is…
- My opinion on education is…
If you can articulate your opinion, you can form the opinions for your characters. Take a character who belives as you do, create a character with an opposing view, lock the two in a room and you’ve got a play.