The Inspiration Wall, on the other hand, has helped me out of a bind numerous times.
It all began several years ago, when I was studying for a teaching degree. I was enrolled in an English course (a necessary step to becoming an effective English teacher) and I had to to share a piece of my own writing with the class. I shared a darkly humorous creative essay about an old friend, a very traditional, Italian family, and a secret abortion. My teacher was delighted.
A few weeks later, I brought my husband to an English department picnic.
“Do you know what a good writer Sara is?” my teacher said, as he pumped Ted’s hand. “She’s going to be famous!”
And now, whenever I dread the thought of writing even one more word, that happy phrase, “she’s going to be famous” keeps me scribbling. On this very day, in fact, with my deadline bearing down and my mind swimming with other things, just typing that story makes writing this post a bit easier.
And that’s not all. In my darkest writing hours, I may also remember
- my first college writing professor (a much more crusty and hard-to-please individual) telling me that he’s glad to hear that I’d chosen to become a Creative Writing major.
- the advisor of my high school newspaper asking me to “work my magic” on the some of the articles other students had written, as they were in desperate need of rescuing.
- all the kids in my fourth grade class, begging me to read the story I’d just written for our latest creative writing assignment–since they’d all enjoyed the last one so much.
…and so on (but I swear I didn’t write this post just to extoll my own virtues).
A few years ago, when I realized it was mostly laziness and fear that kept me from writing the way I should, I decided to build an “Inspiration Wall.” It started out as more of an Inspiration Word Document, actually–just a page of inspiring things someone had told me, at one time or another, about my potential writing career. As time went by, I added a few inspirational quotes by famous writers.
Eventually, I went a little crazy and started putting post-it notes on my wall. That way, when I find myself in the midst of a frustrating writing project, I have only to turn my head a little.
I see, “She’s going to be famous.” And then, unfamous as I am, I keep going.
A few memories and sayings go a long way for me, so my Inspiration Wall is a bit sparse (just a few post-its, really). But you need not stop where I did.
Try illustrating your quotes with big, bold colors. Put up some family pictures, or decorate with photographs of beautiful mountain landscapes. Add another dimension by playing some classical music, or putting out a pot of sweet-smelling lilacs.
If, like me, you want to create an inspiration wall but don’t always find yourself writing in your home office, you can keep your Inspiration Wall as a Word document. I still have my original draft, and I have it saved to my flash drive so it can be my Inspiration-Wall-on-the-go. Really, there’s no way wrong way to do this.
That is, as long as you feel inspired when all is said and done.
Writer and educator Sara Goas is a graduate of Lycoming College, and she specializes in creating content for the web. Her site saragoas.com has more examples of her work.