Finding Inspiration When You’re Dry

Traditionally Challenged: Navigating the Publishing Labyrinth grit

by Greta Boris

Inspiration is as important as water in a desert when your career is a creative one.

What do you do when inspiration runs dry? When every oasis is a mirage?

This year has already had very high highs and very low lows, and it’s only May. Although I’m excited about my new release in June, emotional roller coasters can be draining. One day last month I had a particularly apathetic afternoon. Then I came across a post I’d written over a year ago.

I’d written it to encourage myself not to give up on the fiction writing process after yet one more agent rejection. I now stand on the victory side of that equation, and guess what? I still need inspiration.

The post was especially meaningful because I knew what my mindset was when I wrote it, and I knew what transpired after. I wished I could visit my unrepresented self from a year back and say, “Hang in there. It’s coming!”

I couldn’t, but in a weird time-travel kind of way, rereading the article was like having an encouraging visit from a future incarnation of me. It taught me yesterday’s problems are only temporary. What does that say about today’s?

If you haven’t watched enough Twilight Zone episodes to follow that logic, keep reading anyway.

I believe the sentiment of the article will inspire you. It’s a reminder of why we do what we do. At least, why I do what I do. And it doesn’t have anything to do with time travel, or string theory, or the cosmos. I promise.

From the days when I was tucked in at night with a bedtime story until the present, fiction has played a powerful role in my life.

Fiction transports me, mesmerizes me, and makes me a different human being. It alters my world view, sometimes makes me better, sometimes worse, but it always challenges my preconceived notions. Fiction burns into my solid, made-up-my-mind mentality regularly.

In my early years Nancy Drew’s careful choice of sleuthing outfits made me aware of the importance of dressing for success. In my teens Shakespeare’s wandering forest fairies caused me to ponder man’s position in the universe. Poe’s secret in the chimney introduced me to insomnia. Peter Benchley’s Jaws ruined me on ocean swimming.

As an adult my faith has been broadened more by C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, and That Hideous Strength than from any Sunday sermon. (And I’ve heard some great ones.) Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl nailed my view of modern romance with Amy’s description of the “Cool Girl”. Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead have both shattered and strengthened my moral code in weekly installments.

Living vicariously through stories is a wonderful way to learn and grow without all the pain and angst of life.

Laziness is a virtue if it's done intelligently. Click To Tweet

Since tackling the fiction writing process, I now know the writers who pen the tales don’t have things as easy as their readers. Fiction writing is hard work, and the publishing process is even harder.

Writers who put fingers to keyboard and make their mental meanderings, wonder-ings, and what-ifings public are some of the bravest people around. It is a scary thing to cross the line of normal. If you’re a writer, please keep on. I want to read what you think about the universe and elves and end times and aliens and dragons and serial killers and the girl next door.

Writers provide the ingredients for the soup of next.

If it wasn’t for Alfred Hitchcock, The Twilight Zone, and Star Trek where would we be today? Some of those stories probably paved the way for iPhones, laptops, and CSI. I’m sure I heard somewhere Steve Jobs was a Trekkie. What tomorrow brings comes from the minds of today.

To every writer who has to write ten books to find the one that alters thought, I hope you don’t let the critics stop you. You will write silly stories that don’t cut it. You will write drivel. You will write redundancies. But in the trying, you might write genius. You never know. You might be the one who inspires an engineer or inventor, politician or preacher, explorer or archaeologist to change the world. Carolyn Keene had a big impact on me, and she was no Tolstoy.

It really isn’t about you.

It isn’t about your success, or your Amazon reviews. It is about the spark your story might ignite. It may take fifteen books before one strikes the match, but once it’s struck what fires can be lit? Your mission is much more than the pleasing of New York publishers and snarky Goodreads reviewers. Your mission is to help others live vicariously, and in doing so their minds may be freed to invent and create.

Whether you are a reader, or writer, or both, I hope you take some lazy moments this month to lose yourself in a novel. Let it stretch you, then tell me about it. I want to be stretched too.

***

Greta Boris, Director

Greta Boris Director

Greta Boris is the author of the 2017 releases, A Margin of Lust and The Scent of Wrath, the first two books in her 7 Deadly Sins domestic suspense series.

She’s published articles on culture, health, and entertainment for a variety of national magazines including Victorian Homes, Zombies, 50 Scariest Movies, Exodus, and Women of the Bible. She’s also the author of the Amazon Kindle Bestseller The Wine and Chocolate Workout – Sip, Savor, and Strengthen for a Healthier Life.

You can visit her at http://gretaboris.com. She describes her work (and her life) as an O.C. housewife meets Dante’s Inferno.

One thought on “Finding Inspiration When You’re Dry

  1. Wow! This is a fabulous article. I wasn’t feeling particularly low or apathetic,but now I’m entertaining thoughts about applying to the astronaut’s program. Seriously, authors are in the inspiration business.

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