Today I welcome guest blogger, Lisa Koosis whose new YA book RESURRECTING SUNSHINE is now available for preorder! If you like Sci-Fi books that deal with life and death then this book is for you. It deals with the theory of what would happen if we brought someone back from the dead. Would they be the person we remember, or someone similar but not quite the same? Or someone entirely different?
Anyway, I’m a girl who always like to know where other writers get their inspiration. So when Lisa and I were talking about guest blogs, I asked her where she finds hers. Her response was beautiful, eloquent, and quite inspiring itself!
When I started college, I wrote constantly. Though I was unofficially a science major at the time, even then my true home was the Humanities building, where I took elective after elective in creative writing. In between classes, I could usually be found sitting on the floor in one of the hallways, back against the wall, notebook propped on my knees, frantically penning a new short story.
I was on my own for the first time, redefining myself as an adult. I was learning that I didn’t have to be ashamed to be a smart girl, and also that smart and creative didn’t have to be mutually exclusive. I was making great new friends, exploring an unfamiliar place, and stretching myself in ways I couldn’t have imagined even a year or two earlier. And maybe because of that, because I was so incredibly open to the new world I’d entered, I found inspiration everywhere.
I found inspiration in the shallow green hills of the campus, in early mornings sitting on the jetty with my best friend watching the sky grow light, in even the sleepy church services in the beautiful old white-stone church that my aforementioned best friend would coax me into attending with her. I found inspiration in the wind-twisted scrub oak that grew everywhere, in the chaos of the dorms, and in the ghost stories that surrounded the campus windmill.
And yes, there was endless inspiration for story ideas. But that wasn’t it. Not really.
The inspiration was so much bigger. It was the inspiration to create. It was this insatiable need to capture the world I was living in, to capture the essence of those moments that I was loving so much, to freeze them in words the way a photograph might freeze them in images. That’s what kept my pen flying across the pages of my notebook as fast as my fingers could move, for hours at a time.
Eventually, I graduated and got an apartment, which came with different responsibilities. Bills had to be paid. Bathrooms had to be scrubbed. Schooldays became workdays, and I held down multiple jobs to keep myself afloat. I was tired, and though I still loved to tell stories, my frantic bouts of scribbling became a struggle to find the right words. I lost the inspiration to do what I loved most.
But here’s the thing. If you love something enough, you will find your way back to it. In a new way, maybe, and in a way that better suits wherever you are in your life at that point, but it will happen.
When I wrote my first draft of RESURRECTING SUNSHINE, the book that was to become my debut young adult novel, I found my inspiration in a much different place. I had just suffered a major loss, I was completely adrift, and my inspiration to create came not from a desire to capture the moment, but from my need to process what was happening to me, to understand the world, to find my new place in it…just as my protagonist, Adam, had to find his place in his own post-Sunshine world.
We take our inspiration however and whenever it comes, right?
So here’s a confession… When I think of the word ‘inspiration,’ I have this image, hokey as it may seem, of a beam of white sunlight coming down from a pale blue sky. I know, right? And for me, sometimes inspiration still comes from the beauty and wonder I find all around me, that need to capture a moment, an emotion, an image. It’s likely to come in quiet, reflective times, like when I’m walking the dog on a silent, snowy morning. Sometimes, upon coming back home, I can’t get the words out fast enough. And like that girl I was in college I’ll still frantically scribble out a scene from a book I’m working on…or from something entirely new to me as yet, a gift from the universe.
Sometimes inspiration comes from no more than the sheer determination to sit down at the damn page and make something of my life. Sometimes, the truth—at least for me—is that inspiration is equally as likely to come from a darker place. And that’s okay, too.
Mostly though, I think inspiration comes when you have a willingness to being open to the world around you and to the world inside of you as well, when you hold no expectations, only the readiness to receive. When you see inspiration in all of its incarnations as the gift that it truly is.