Do Not Give Up: Seek Inspiration

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another
with no loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill
All writers experience it: low times. A low time can rear its ugly head after a particularly painful rejection, a bad case of writer's block, or in my current challenge, a serious case of lack of writing time. At times like these there is only one thing to do: Seek inspiration.

So before you make those New Year's resolutions, spend a little time filling your well with inspiration. Jot down inspirational sayings and thoughts that speak to you—tack them onto your bulletin board and read them periodically throughout the New Year.

Read the Tea Leaves

During a recent visit with one of my daughters, I delighted in sharing a quiet moment with her sipping a cup of tea at the end of the day. Our favorite? Yogi Bedtime Tea (Yogi tea in its many varieties is sold at most major grocery and natural food stores). My daughter would read her saying to me and ask me what mine said, and we would revel in the simple yet profound sayings before taking our first sip.

I keep an envelope with some of my favorite inspirational sayings, many snipped from the strings on my teabags, and am considering using one of the Yogi sayings in the front pages of my WIP book. Enjoy a few from my collection:
  • “Oneness is achieved by recognizing your self.”
  • "Happiness comes from contentment.”
  • “Your intuition is your best friend.”
  • “Love, compassion and kindness are the anchors of life.”
  • “Let things come to you.”
  • “Live from your heart, you will be most effective.”
  • “I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings. “ - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) A saying from a Good Earth teabag.
Inspirational sayings Tacked onto My Bulletin Board
  • “I began to wonder if this was why I’m not afraid of the work it takes to write a novel. For me, writing isn’t work. It’s fun. It’s a creative exploration into my characters, their world, the possible points of view the story could be written in, or the possible scenes that could exist. It’s about exploring how wide and deep and wonderful a story can be, rather than seeing it as a straight shot from beginning to end. It’s not time to work on this revision. It’s time to play with this revision. I’m going to open my manuscript and not work, but play.” -  Ingrid’s Notes
  • A note about Ingrid Sundberg:  I’ve been following Ingrid Sundberg’s blog for years and gain a great deal of inspiration from her. She is the author of the YA novel all we left behind, critiques manuscripts, and has recently begun teaching high school. If you don’t know her, I recommend visiting her blog. I think you’ll be glad you did.
  • “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” -  Anton Chekhov, known to be one of the greatest short fiction writers in history.
  • “Art can heal anything and everything. Go and give and give and give. And when you give it all, it comes back to you.” -  Ben Vereen  
  • A note about Ben Vereen: Ben Vereen, an “accomplished and versatile” entertainer has appeared on Broadway, performed many one-man shows in the US and abroad, played Chicken George in Roots and Louis Armstrong in Louis Armstrong, has had many appearances on TV and has accomplished much more. Vereen holds a special place in my heart because of his courage in keeping his terrific attitude after losing his 16-year-old daughter in an auto accident, and suffering critical injuries from three accidents in one day.
  • “You’re dealt a hand of cards. You can choose to play it out—or not. I think the game is worthwhile, I really do.”  Christopher Reeve, the actor who suffered a spinal cord injury after being thrown from a  horse. 
  • Do the work. Do the work. Do the work. Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame. I’m an audiobook fan and became inspired by Cranston’s story and advice in his autobiography audiobook, read by him,:A Life in Parts.
  • "Learning never exhausts the mind," Leonardo daVinci, heard on CNN Fareed Zakaria's GPS show on Sunday morning.
Benefit from Other Writers’ Wisdom
  • “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while, the muse shows up too.” - Isabel Allende, the Chilean-American author of The House of the Spirits.
  • “Kill your darlings. Even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” Stephen King. One of the main inspirations I draw from Stephen King, and there are many, is how he gave up on his first book, Carrie, and threw it in the trash. His wife found it and advised him that it was good—keep going. When he finally finished it, it was rejected 30 times!
  • “Start telling the stories that only you can tell.” - Neil Gaiman, celebrated English author of American Gods, Coraline, and Sandman comics.
  • "Be daring, take on anything. Don't labor over little cameo works in which every word is to be perfect. Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind." - Joyce Carol Oates, author of over 40 novels, plays and novellas, and many volumes of poetry, short stories, and nonfiction.
As you begin the New Year, take heart. Inspiration can be found in likely places, and hidden in places you might least expect. You will feel renewed and ready to best any battle that should come along.

    Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 100 articles for adults and children, and six short stories for children. Recently, she has completed her first book, a mystery/ghost story for children 7-11 years old, and is hard at work on Book Two in the series.  Follow Linda at


    Karen Cioffi said...

    Linda, what a great post for the end of the year. I love “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while, the muse shows up too.” - Isabel Allende Thanks for sharing!

    And, don't worry too much about your lack of writing time. It happens to all of us now and then. I'm sure you'll be back on track soon.

    Linda Wilson said...

    Thanks, Karen! Your words are encouraging and you're right--soon, soon, soon!

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