Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Reading And Finding Inspiration…



For me, I’ve always been inspired by the blank page.

But sometimes whatever magic we can conjure inside of ourselves just isn’t enough. I know a lot of us get inspiration from tv, movies, music, or even just stepping outside our front doors and observing people. It never ceases to amaze me how much magic and inspiration is just waiting for us to tap into it—grab onto it and put it on the page, and I think most of the time, all we need to do is just slow down long enough to notice that it’s there.

As writers, we work and work and work and edit and edit and edit—and what I find interesting is that a lot of us cease to read for pleasure while we get in work mode… we get to a point where we aren’t able to truly enjoy a book like we used to—where all we can see is plot/pacing issues, or too much telling, or character inconsistencies or unbelievable settings. Think to the last time you truly enjoyed a story without critiquing it to death inside your head…

For me, lately, I’ve gone back and reread the books that made me want to start writing in the first place. The books that first planted that seed of magic—those settings that lingered with me for days afterward—where I would do anything to stay in that world and spend time with those characters. I’ve been analyzing what it is that makes me love these books so much. Is it the ambiance? The characters? The conflict?

I’ve also discovered that whenever I beta read for someone incredible it restores inspiration fast. I think when we READ we can discover what it is that made us want to venture into this daring writing world. And even though I think we should immerse ourselves in stories as much as possible (not only for knowing the market and what’s out there), but so we can keep our creativity fresh and keep ourselves aligned with who we want to be as a writer. Because when we are right within ourselves, we’ll be in that place mentally where we can create what we’re trying to portray on the page.


Yesterday I received a package in the mail containing an ARC for Woven, David Powers King’s debut novel (Out in January!) with Scholastic. And already, I’m immersed in this wonderful world and pieces of inspiration are stitching itself back together in my writing soul. I’d forgotten what reading could do for my happiness and motivation. Can’t wait to finish it.


What was the last book you read that made you inspired to write? Do you reread books that take you back to that “magical place?” Jealous I get to read Woven right NOW?!?!? 

Red. Head. Out. 

54 comments:

  1. Hi Morgan .. that's fantastic - and how inspiring to have David's book in your hands and in front of your eyes for them to read his magic. I really need to take a year off and just read books - I read what I need to find out .. but books per se ... seem to allude me and it's something I must address.

    That's amazing that your mojo is being creative again ... enjoy the book .. and then getting stuck in to some writing .. happy days ahead ... cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm reading an ARC of WOVEN to my hubby right now too! It's sooo good!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The White Dragon inspired me to be a writer. It's been years since I read it, so maybe it's time I picked it up and read it again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I kind of just read what's next on my carousel. With about 900 unread books on my tablet...I trudge on *smile*

    I need to get back to writing. I've been editing the series I first published in 2011. It was cleaner than I expected. But getting through the last edit pass of book four is killing me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You got David's book!
    If I write anything more, I will definitely need some inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Totally jealous of Woven!! And this makes me want to go and read more of A Wrinkle in Time--one of my books that gets me inspired :) Wonderful post!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. As an illustrator, I've seen several picture books, most recently Journey by Aaron Becker, that have inspired me to jump back in to create picture book illustrations, but comic books and graphic novels, of which I constantly read, keep my illustrative (and writing) fires stoked. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Super jealous Morgan. Being inspired is important.

    ReplyDelete
  9. We both got to read an ARC of our buddy's book, and that was a fun change of pace (Western non-fiction). There's not a lot of great humor fiction out there aside from the likes of Terry Pratchett and Christopher Moore so often I'll watch a well written comedy show/movie to help inspire my writing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "Pieces of inspiration are STITCHING itself back together..." I see what you did there, lol. One of my biggest regrets about becoming a writer is that I have a hard time shutting off the editor when I read for fun. It doesn't mean I don't enjoy the story, but things I would have fixed jump out at me and prevent me from completely getting sucked in. It does happen once in a while (and those books are treasures!) but it's pretty rare. :(

    ReplyDelete
  11. Although reading other writers' books can sometimes lead to jealousy or a feeling of inferiority, they also inspire me to try even harder to put my ideas onto paper. Kind of a love/hate relationship.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yep, I'm jealous. And yep, it's been forever since I've read a book simply for the pleasure of it. Le grande sigh. Also, we need to hang out. I'm practically exploding with writing angst.

    ReplyDelete
  13. So cool! Okay, yes a wee jealous. I do love those books that get my creative juices flowing.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Reading amps up my muse for sure! I loved Woven too.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Very true, reading others can sure help us step out of our world and maybe embrace something new along the way to.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Gah! How low am I on the list?! LOL

    Good for you, Morgan. I went through the same thing. I'm still picky about my fiction, but I don't grab for my red pen like I used to.

    IWSG #151 until Alex culls the list again.

    ReplyDelete
  17. What a wonderful idea to go back to those magical books we loved so much. I think I will do that as well, especially as one in particular came to mind when I read your words. The magic, the different world. I loved the writer's skill with taking me away to another place. Thank you Morgan, for the prompt.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Very timely post. I've been busy, stressed and ovewhelmed this year and, as you talked about, I've lost the ability to read for relaxation. With nothing to relax me I've been very stressed, to the point where I had about a month where I didn't want to read. DIDN'T WANT TO READ AT ALL! It was very disturbing. I've taken a break and am trying to get back to a happier, calmer place. Sigh. I bet Woven would help with that.....

    ReplyDelete
  19. The only thing that has changed about the way I read is by changing what I read. By that I mean, as I have read better books, it has created an impatience within me with books that aren't "better." It's always been that way with me. Writing didn't change that.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I didn;t know David was writing a book. I'll be sure to look for it when released. And I'm going to reread the entire Harry Potter series after the holidays are over. Why not. That was such a fun journey.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Awesome! Have fun reading Woven!

    I often get inspired by listening to music or catching a good movie too. Maybe the conflict strikes a chord with me and gets me thinking.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Yep, a bit jealous that you're already reading Woven.

    I tend to book binge. I'll read and read and read and then I'll take a break from reading for a while. I love when I'm reading something and it inspires me to write.

    ReplyDelete
  23. For me the mark of a good book these days is if I can turn off my inner editor while reading it. It's become second nature to pick books apart, so I love it when I forget about that in favour of enjoying the story instead. I'd have to say the last book I read that made me want to write is HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Maas. Incredible world building, plot, and character development! Great post and congrats to David on his upcoming book release!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Lucky you getting an ARC of Woven! Reading inspires me. I find myself returning to favorite writers again and again. Those are the ones where you get lost in the story and don't even think about critiquing and editing. Then I go back and try to figure out what it is about the book that hooked me so. There must be a magic formula! LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Since I became serious about writing for publication, it's also been hard for me to turn off my inner editor when I read a book. It amazes me what gets published these days, when there are so many things modern writers are constantly being told not to do. Reading older books also saddens me sometimes, thinking about how they never would've gotten published these days. I can almost hear agents, editors, and critiquers saying things like "Watch that word count!," "Too much telling!," "No opening hook!," and "There's no one main character!"

    ReplyDelete
  26. Yes, totally jealous you're reading Woven right now! I love reading - so many books and authors have inspired me.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The last book that inspired me to write was actually a very disappointing book that left me feeling that I could do much better. I haven't actually gotten around to writing that better book, but it did inspire me.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I love that you have been going back and rereading books that inspired you to write. I love to read and books that take me to other places and make me fall deep within their pages inspire me to write and dream. I have been inspired by so many different books. :)
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
  29. Morgan, the blank page actually scares me! But I overcome that fear and soldier on. I read for fun but also pay attention to what I can learn from other authors. The latest book that wowed me was GONE GIRL. Holy cow, it was amazing and so well written and packed with twists. Crazy but good.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Morgan - thank you for this! I've been out of sorts creatively for a few days, and I realized I hadn't been reading (even after an awesome bookstore trip to an amazing bookstore - we wrapped those books for Christmas already - what was I thinking!). So, my youngest wanted to go to the library and I went with her . . . and found a wonderful book that I had been "afraid" to read. The premise is grim, the world-building felt dark, but yet . . . it was beautiful and magical and just right. I had worried about the grim premise going graphic, and was extremely thankful that it didn't go there. So, for me, the last magical book was GRAVE MERCY . . . about a convent trained assassin in an alternative history with magic. It was rich and fantastic, and the heroine is strong and so it inspired me to get back to my strong heroine and her story. :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. YES! This. And I don't know why, but sometimes I resist reading a book. For instance, I bought a book in september, started reading it in October, but barely got anywhere with it. Then in November (yeah, sometimes I go SLOWLY), I realized that I liked it, maybe loved it. And I read the rest of it in two sittings.
    Sigh.
    It was wonderful. I wish I could have savored it more, or been less skeptical at the beginning.
    anyhow, I loved it and I was feeling inspired. The book? Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a SUPERVILLAIN!
    I mean GOLD. I spent half the book wishing I'd come up with the idea. any how. It was blast, now back to work.

    ReplyDelete
  32. That book looks amazing. :) I'm always inspired by reading. My favorite books never get old, and they remind me not just of the wonderful feeling of discovering them again, but also what makes writing and reading books so awesome. My writing buddies also inspire me. I'll read their drafts and later on see their work in print.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I know what you mean...it's almost like I can't enjoy a book anymore. But you know what I've found? When the book is really good, all that goes out the window and I get immersed. So, if I'm all stuck on pacing and problems with the book, noticing them instead of enjoying the read, I usually give up on the book.

    Love you, Red!

    ReplyDelete
  34. This is exactly me, lately! I've been so harried to finish my edits I haven't read ANYTHING for pleasure lately! But I've been feeling rushed and stumped, I decided to finally just take a day off and read and holy bananas, it made a huge difference! I read The Kiss of Deception yesterday--It's totally motivating for me and has helped. Reading really is a big deal for us writers!!! And yay, so excited about David's book!!!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Somehow, I don't know how, I've mostly managed to keep the "reading like a writer" thing at bay. Not always, but so often I get sucked into stories and miss all the stuff that I probably should notice as a writer. (Maybe that's because I haven't been writing much lately?) Anyway, the last book I read that made me go WOW and want to write something equally awesome was REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly. That book...whoa. Loved it. Love this post too, Morgan! :D

    ReplyDelete
  36. Lucky you to get to read Woven! I bet it's awesome! I have such a hard time finding time to read (and write). Life is just so crazy busy!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I have a few authors that I wait for. I know when I get their book I can relax because I trust them. You are right reading is so important.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Enjoy the book! Can't wait to read it myself. I've read quite a few inspiring stories lately from our indie author friends. They're so wonderfully talented. Like Mary Pax's Rifter series and Milo James Fowler's Coyote Cal. Such fun!

    ReplyDelete
  39. cutie in the outfit! when I read "the last child" I was sold to commit to writing. it amazed me to no end. I can't wait for woven to come out you lucky girl!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I know what you mean, Morgan, sometimes switching off my internal editor is almost impossible! I try and learn something from every book I read whether I have enjoyed it or not. I read to be entertained and so I try to write to entertain too.

    I'm sure Woven is going to be a fantastic read.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I AM jealous! That is too cool. :D

    After I finish this series (hopefully soon), I will definitely be on the look-out for that elusive inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I've rarely had problems with inspiration, as ideas come from everywhere; it's hammering all those ideas into a story that's my issue. O_o But I know what you mean. It's hard, sometimes, to turn off the inner writer/editor and just read, without seeing the little things about a story that people who don't write would never notice. I think it's the mark of a truly good story, and a truly good storyteller, to make us forget all of that and just lose ourselves in the book.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I am finished with Woven. Neener, neener. LOL. It is excellent.

    It is good to re-read the books that inspire us. Makes my brain sigh with awe and wonder.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Love your words as they become pictures in my mind. I did notice that you didn't share the book(s) that inspired you to write.... I am curious. Love you, darling girl.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I often find my inspiration for writing and speaking to come from reading from genres other than my subject. But I seldom reread books, but I might reread a part of a book.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I am often inspired by the books I read. The one that comes to mind right off is Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys. And yes! I'm very jealous you're reading Woven!

    ReplyDelete
  47. This is spot on, Morgan. Beta-ing helps spark inspiration, and I think it can make a stronger writer with ones own work. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  48. That is how I feel. When I read for pleasure I have to shut my inner editor up because it wants to pick the books a part.

    I am SO excited for Woven!!! I can't wait to get my hands on it!!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Hey Morgan!

    Do I like get bonus points for commenting at almost half past two on a Monday morning? "Of course you do, amazingly awesome, Gary!" Gosh, thanks, Morgan! :)

    Going back over the books that were the catalyst of your own inspiration, is a nice, positive outcome. As for editing? What's that? Aha!

    Delighted you have David's debut book. For Beta or for worse, I'm outta' here.....

    See ya later, dancing, writing princess!

    Gary :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. I do love to re-read some of the books that inspired me most. Analyzing what made me love them is something I haven't yet done, but probably should. And of course I'm jealous!

    ReplyDelete
  51. I like you, love to revisit a book that created this take me away feeling. I have been known to carry a book around with me waiting for a chance to read just a few lines.

    Love this post and thank you for sharing your 'escape into another world' feel! I hope the Sugar Plum fairy twirls in your dreams and inspires more goodness~ I have missed blogging! Thank you, Morgan-you made me smile!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Awesome pic! A reader and her book! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy prosperous New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Great reminder that we need to slow down every now and then to find inspiration. And be inspired by stories instead of overanalysing them!

    ReplyDelete

 
There was an error in this gadget

Search Away

Follow by Email

Site design by: The Blog Decorator