Tuesday, May 1, 2012
It's what makes artists paint and musicians compose. It's what drives educators to teach and dancers to perform. And at the end of the day, inspiration is what makes authors out of ordinary writers.
For me personally, inspiration is what carries me from the initial heady enthusiasm I feel on page one of a new project through the hills and valleys that naturally occur before I edit that last paragraph.
I can have a brilliant idea. I can even find that perfect first sentence and a twist for the end to leave readers wanting more. But without inspired content in between that first and last page, the project is a failure. For me, music has always been my inspiration when I hit that inevitable road block - when my character is at a crossroads and just doesn't know which way to go. I will be driving along with the radio on or my ipod turned up and suddenly a song or an artist will resonate so clearly with the character or plot I am working on so that there is no longer a shadow of doubt about what I will write next. The song...the lyrics, the tone, the emotion...becomes the passion to drive my stories forward.
So I've compiled a list of the top 10 music artists that have inspired my work to date.
10. James Taylor - He's mellow and poetic and can deliver a setting through words as well as any novelist I've ever read.
9. Zac Brown - He has that honest southern sincerity to his voice no matter if he sings about "cold beer on a Friday night" or the sacrifices of our armed services...his words are heartfelt.
8. Bob Dylan - for obvious reasons...
7. Paul Simon - He's still going strong without Garfunkel and longevity is inspiring.
6. Billy Joel - He's got that little bit of crazy to his songs that make me feel like we are together on the edge of something big...quite possibly something disastrous, but something big nonetheless.
5. Christina Perri - Oh, the angst! "Sweet little bluebird..." Angst, angst and more angst!
4. John Lennon - If for nothing else than Imagine, he sparks the creativity in me.
3. Miranda Lambert - She's tough as nails and tells it like it is. Sometimes simple and to the point is best.
2. John Denver - He's wistful and dreamy...puts me in a contemplative frame of mind.
And drum roll please....the top musician that inspires me with every song he writes and every character I have created...
1. James Blunt - Somehow he manages to capture the complexity of a personality within the confines of an individual song. In a three minute song, he can show you the good of a person and the devil on the other side...which just proves that characters are multi-dimensional and complicated if we just give them room to breathe.
Yes, my inspirations come from a wide range of musical genres, so if you haven't heard of any of them, I highly suggest you do...
What artists inspire your writing?