Sunday, 2 September 2012

Inspirational Eureka Moments

My dictionary tells me’ inspiration’ can be ‘a good idea, creative influence or stimulus’. In terms of writing, that definitely fits the bill! But my idea of inspiration is not a flash of insight or a good idea but moments when my dear friend, Mary Muse is sitting on my shoulder.
My friend Mary calls at some odd times and sometimes when I desperately need her, she doesn’t visit at all! But all is not lost, as almost always when I need inspiration, Mary comes calling eventually.
I believe inspiration is actually the end product of lots of subconscious thinking. And although inspiration can suddenly arrive – almost a ‘eureka moment’ – I often realise belatedly, that my brain was working on the problem all the time – albeit in the background. It is moments like these that make me persevere when I have a problem with my plot or the mechanics of writing seem to be going nowhere. It is what makes me come alive and sparkle with enthusiasm at some new idea that has abruptly come to me. It restores my faith that I knew what I was doing all the time (even when, in my heart of hearts, I knew that was not the case).
A frequent quote I have come across a few times in the blogosphere is “all who wander are not lost” and whilst I cannot recall where this comes from, I do know it is certainly true of my own writing. Sometimes I do seem to wander all over the place and even get totally off course with my story but there is always a way to salvage things and that is when my muse is most often helpful as it may even suggest a new direction or a new story line which makes the tale much better and enables me to feel inspired and filled with renewed passion for my writing.
It was just such an inspirational moment when it occurred to me to put two ideas I had been considering for a story, together and tie a known historical event - the plague in 1665 - in to a contemporary story of mother love and murder. The result was  The Afterlife of Darkmares  - my latest offering...
Does your muse visit you at crucial times? Does inspiration come easily to you?


  1. My muse keeps a low profile and I often don't know she's there at all until I find I've written something that seemed to come from nowhere, and certainly wasn't anything I'd consciously thought about. Weird, isn't it, how words seem to write themselves! :-)

  2. My muse does seem to come just when I need her. Thanks for this insightful post, Pat. :)

  3. I don't have a muse, but I do have inspirational moments where I realize I need to sit butt in chair and write. Nice post, Pat. :)

  4. I never wait for my muse because she's rarely there when I need her. She usually turns up after I've started writing. That, or she turns up at the worst possible times when I can't write down anything she tells me.

  5. Oh gosh, am I allowed to say I don't really believe in a muse? I don't know - I more along the lines of believing that, as you say, inspiration comes as a result of a lot of thinking, subconscious or not.