Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Inspiration and Dedication.....Finding Them When You Don't Expect It

Hey all.  I was lucky enough to read a great post in my publisher's private yahoo group.  I was so moved by it, I asked her if she would give me permission to repost it.  She did, and here it is.  Note:  Celina Summers is the amazing Editor-In-Chief of Musa Publishing.  Check out the website for submission information.  You know you want someone with this much vision and passion behind you. http://www.musapublishing.com/ 

We are all part of an artistic community that relies heavily on
inspiration. And, like most artists, we find ourselves upon occasion
sitting at our computers, staring at a blank new document and waiting
fruitlessly for the Muse to emerge.
Yes, I have days like that too. Too many to count lately, it seems,
because I've finished my projects for my agent (who is shopping them
now) and trying to determine what my next project will be. So here I am
on a holiday, getting pissy because I have all these hours to write and
nothing is stirring my imagination. I flipped through the TV stations,
and finally just left the television on the Figure Skating World
Championships--more for white noise than anything else. And then--here
comes this kid, skating his life out. Seventeen years old, Japanese
kid, skating to the soundtrack of Romeo and Juliet (not the DiCaprio
version either). Just watching this kid's performance totally pulled me
out of my writing zone and into his skating zone. He was amazing.
Hitting all his jumps and spins, skating with such joy that he managed
to look electric and at his ease at the same time.
And then he fell. Not on a jump--his skate hit a divot in the ice and
threw him down onto the rink floor. And I thought, "Damn. What a shame.
That kid's not going to recover."
Yep. I'm an idiot.
He got right back up, got right back into step with his routine and hit
every schedule jump. He even ADDED jumps to compensate for the fall.
The entire rink was rooting for him--heck, the entire world was rooting
for him. Not just because his joy in his chosen art was so apparent,
but because he refused to let a setback keep him from his purpose.
And then at the end of his performance, he stood there gasping for
breath--not because he was winded, but because he's asthmatic.
What kind of--excuse the phraseology--balls does it take to stand back
up and supersede your own expectations after you fall in front of the
world? What kind of courage does a young man--yes, a kid--need to face
all of that and come out on top? This young man isn't in contention for
the world championship, probably. Not yet. But he will be one
day--probably for the next winter Olympics. Because he already has the
dedication to his art. He's a skater--he works his ass off every single
day of the week to better himself. And that makes his performances
And he knows this at SEVENTEEN, while I struggle with it at FORTY-FIVE.
Sometimes, we find inspiration in strange places. Music, photos, movies,
nature--whatever it might be. The first novel I ever completed was
inspired by a single image on a regrettably not-that-good film. As soon
as the movie was over, I sat down at my computer and started to write. A
month later, I had 100k words. Two years after that, it was published.
The trick is to take that inspiration and dedicate yourself to bringing
it to fruition. What inspires a story in you? And what needs to happen
in your everyday life to develop that inspiration into a story that not
only engages you, the writer, but the people who will one day read it?
I have a storehouse of things I do or places I go online when I'm at a
loss with a story. I have one place I go when I'm getting down on
myself, doubting that I'll reach all my goals and fulfill all my dreams.
All I have to do is to watch a simple film clip,
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk> and I discover that I can
dig deeper, find something within myself that encourages me and
reassures me that it's never too late to take whatever it is you desire
above everything else creatively.
My source may not work for you. That's okay. It works for me. What you
need to do is to figure out what will work to inspire you--and what you
need to do in order to dedicate the time and attention you can to make
that inspiration come to its ultimate final state.
A story.
By the way, that kid? Huzuru Yanu placed third in the World Figure
Skating Championships. Despite his age, his asthma, his inexperience,
his fall--he made it onto the podium at the 2012 Worlds with a bronze
medal around his neck. And everything about him during that medal
ceremony was just pure, unabashed joy.
Take joy in what you write. It will make your ultimate victory that much


  1. Loved it! Tweeted it! Shared it! Thanks for sharing this sage advice on the web, Samantha! Cheers!

  2. I might just print this out and frame it over my desk for all those days when I'm feeling grumpy about writing. ;)

  3. I loved this too. Like Sharon, I tweeted. Wonderful thoughts and advice.