Where I Find Inspiration

May 1, 2020 | By Claire Fullerton
I was recently asked the following question in an interview: “As a writer, where do you go to find inspiration?” The interviewer cited the habit of Charles Dickens, who took to the streets of London every day in a five to six-mile stroll while looking for source material. I love the evocative image of this world-renowned writer cruising through London, his eyes darting as he tallied impressions, experiencing the common place of that city, taking mental notes.
Because I wanted to answer the question to the best of my ability, I visualized myself in Dickens’ place and pondered what he was really doing. I realized it wasn’t so much where he was as it was that he had his eyes open. The way I considered it, Dickens allowed himself to be influenced, and this is key for writers. The most seemingly inconsequential things can affect a writer, and by this I mean strike an emotional chord. That it typically happens in the blink of an eye doesn’t make it any less meaningful.
In the essay, Honeymoon: The Romance of Umbria, by Pat Conroy, which appears in The Pat Conroy Cookbook, Conroy writes of catching himself writing in his head instead of living in the moment as he stood inspired by an Umbrian sunset. With regard to writers, I believe this is a common habit. It’s a particular way of being in the world and at the heart of it is the desire to communicate coupled with love of language.
There might be shades of the longing to be understood, but I think it’s more a labor of love to help readers understand the world. After all, a writer’s task is to articulate, to put their impressions into words along with what they think and feel through the power of story.
I’ve heard it said that artists view the world through with a peculiar, particular lens.
They have the ability to engage with the world from the outside looking in, to be in it but not of it, stand apart in the middle of a crowd and act as witness. To many artists, this ability is a calling, be it acting, painting, dancing, or writing. In my opinion, writers are the archivists of the world, the interpreters of life who record events and impressions and are driven by the need to share their gift.
And yes, it all starts with finding inspiration, yet inspiration doesn’t so much reside without as it does within. The trick is to keep wide-eyed and aware as one goes about their days, to grab hold of inspiration’s cord once it’s struck and hang on until it resonates. Inspiration doesn’t have so much to do with location as it does the ability to access what’s within once it’s triggered. When it comes to writing, inspiration is a prompting that travels from the spirit of a writer to a blank page and results in a painstaking commitment to work built on hope and blind faith that it’s worth sharing.
In answer to that interviewer’s question of where I go to find inspiration, I tried my best to articulate my experience. I said rather than cite a locale, I can share what I do when inspired, and it has everything to do with discipline. I can be anywhere doing anything when inspiration comes from sight, sound, thought, mood or feeling. To me it’s all about listening to the voice within. The discipline starts with finding a pen

For Release news of my novel, Little Tea, the rest of this post continues here: http://booksbywomen.org/where-i-find-inspiration/

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Little Tea’s Universal Link:  https://books2read.com/u/3nvz0R
Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Mourning Dove is a five-time award winner, including the Literary Classics Words on Wings for Book of the Year, and the Ippy Award silver medal in regional fiction ( Southeast.) Claire is also the author of Dancing to an Irish Reel, a Kindle Book Review and Readers’ Favorite award winner that is set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral ( because something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral.) Little Tea is Claire’s 4th novel and is set in the Deep South. It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations. Little Tea is the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens, a Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom international competition, and a finalist in the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset award. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary

Follow her on Twitter @cfullerton3
Find out more about her on her website https://www.clairefullerton.com/

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7 thoughts on “Where I Find Inspiration

  1. beautiful essay. I love to hear these sort of “back stories” from writers as to how they do their craft.

    I also love that you mention Pat Conroy, one of my all-time favorite writers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had the pleasure of meeting Pat Conroy at The Pat Conroy at 70 literary festival in Beaufort, SC. Never have I met a nicer guy, truly. He was as fine as they come as a writer and as a person. I recommend, “My Reading Life” by Conroy, if you haven’t already read it! It’s a true treasure, and in it, he gives writers the keys to the kingdom through his series of essays.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so jealous. I like lots of writers, John Grisham, Michael Connelly, Scott Turow, Harlan Coben, but I think Pat Conroy was the best WRITER by far. He just had a way with the English language. I have not read “My Reading Life” so thanks for the recommendation. One of my favorite Conroy books is “The Water Is Wide”.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved them all. The Lords of Discipline and My Losing Season were Conroy at his sardonic best. I really love South of Broad. Within seconds of meeting him, he invited me over to his house, if you can believe that. He introduced me to his agent then asked for the manuscript of Mourning Dove. Sadly, he died 4 months later. But I don’t think I would have written Mourning Dove had I not read The Price of Tides years ago. He literally showed me what a writer can do; how deep they can go; that nothing is off-limits. His wife, the wonderful Cassandra King, blurbed my book, Little Tea 🙂

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  3. This is such a beautiful essay, Claire. I can hear your voice in it as much as in your novels. I always find it fascinating to learn about a writer’s process and often wonder where the inspiration comes from. Stay safe, my friend.

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