Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

152 “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” – Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon’s statement is true for all of us (regardless of gender). Opportunity does come knocking occasionally, and sometimes chances for success appear serendipitously in our inboxes, but more likely we must create our opportunities.

As a writer, I can sit back and wait for editors of anthologies to ask for my stories – which is lovely when it happens, but still a rare privilege for me. Or I can research markets, locate opportunities, and either write a new story for an antho or check my files for an appropriately themed piece of fiction to send.

I can check my email and phone messages for bloggers and reporters begging for an interview or a feature, or I can get online and look for blogs which might be a good fit for me and my book/books. Then, I can write a query letter and go through the process to “land” an interview, guest blog slot, or feature.

I can sit on my sofa and wait for a bookstore manager to contact me for a book signing, or I call the bookstore, find when the manager has a moment to chat, stop by, and see if a book signing (whether individual or with a group of other authors) is something we can make happen.

I can slump in an armchair and moan because lots of writing conference organizers aren’t calling me to appear and lead workshops, or I can contact the people in charge of writing conferences and ask about the process for presenting a program at their next conference.

I can sigh loudly and lean my chin on my hand while gazing out the window wondering why more science-fiction/fantasy cons are not inviting me to be a panelist or I can find out who is inviting guest authors/editors to various sf/f/h cons and learn what I have to do to get an invite.

You get the idea. I need to make opportunities, not wait for that lucky break. And though I’ve written this post from a writer’s point of view, it applies to most goals which require someone to open a door for you.

So readers, think about how you can make opportunities to reach your goals. And though I wish you good luck — don’t rely on luck, rely on yourself and hard work!

(And if you are interested in interviewing me, featuring me or my books, or having me post a guest post on your blog – let me know. If you are a conference or con organizer and want me to participate – contact me. Just practicing what I preach, and trying to make my own opportunities!) 🙂


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People often ask me where do I get some of my more unusual ideas for writing and art work. My response is often, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Then, I tell them some of the “true” things which were the beginning place for a story, poem, or painting.

Yes, I use conversations I over-hear or oddities I spot while traveling, but sometimes the internet has links to marvelously weird science. Here’s the link to a video of 10 of the strange, but real creatures on our planet. If they don’t inspire alien life on other planets, nothing will!

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Readers often ask where I get my ideas from. “Life,” is my usual response.

A perfect example is an article from Discovery Channel Australia on giant crystals which fill an entire cave. Superman jokes aside, this is a fabulous environment to use as the location of a story. I don’t even need to make up the wonder of this cave!

So I leave you science geeks, speculative fiction fans, and interested readers to ponder the amazing Crystal Cave and its ability to inspire.

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Chris Jackson Thanks to author Chris Jackson for stopping by and sharing his thoughts about inspiration and the power of positive feedback.

The Heart of Inspiration by Chris A. Jackson

What inspires you?

I’m not asking where you get your impetus, your ideas, your spark of imagination; I’m asking what impulse drove you to want to do what you do?

I think that for everyone the answer to this question is slightly different. For an athlete it could be the roar of the crowd, the adulation of fans, or the respect of peers. For a business person it could be wealth, respect, or an inner drive to succeed. One thing is certain, however: no matter what you do, when someone tells you that you’ve done it well, it inspires you to do more.

At first, my inspiration to write was something nebulous, a deep feeling that I could do something that people would enjoy, could create something entertaining. And, in the very beginning, when I was writing a story that based upon a roleplaying game campaign I’d created, it was a sense of, “There has got to be some further use for all this work I just completed.” As my writing career progressed, however, I have drawn inspiration from a different quarter. I now know that I write for the sheer pleasure of hearing or talking to people who have enjoyed my work.

The first time this happened, I was at a convention. I honestly can’t remember which one. It might have been Necronomicon, in Tampa Florida, since that was my very first. A young lady had purchased one of my books the previous year, and sought me out the next year. She so enjoyed the novel she’d purchased that she wanted to buy everything else I had in print, and begged me to write a sequel. I was, quite simply, knocked flat by that level of praise. I had received accolades before, some from other writers and professionals, but nothing came close to that simple, honest pleasure I had elicited from a reader.

Every time this happens, and I’m pleased to say that it has happened quite a lot more than I ever expected it would, I get the same thrill. One of the best complements I’ve ever been paid was by a young man who and said that he had been walking around his home reading one of my stories, and he not only forgot where he was, but also forgot he was reading. That tells me that I transported his mind into my world. That is my job, and I had achieved it perfectly. That alone, above anything else, including getting paid to write, has kept me writing.

Chris Jackson Pirate's Honor Interestingly, this is also what I did not get out of a twenty-year career in biomedicine. I enjoyed my work, and I know I achieved some very solid research, and taught a lot of medical students how not to kill their patients, which made me feel good, but there wasn’t that thrill, that big thank you that I’ve received from fans of my stories. This, I think, is the difference between simply “working” and “working to create.” When you create something, whether it’s with your hands, your mind, or the sweat of your brow, and that creation, that “thing”, brings someone pleasure, you get a feeling of accomplishment that cannot be surpassed. I know a chef gets this rush when a comment comes back from a diner that their meal was superb, and I imagine a tailor might get the same rush when a suit or gown is received by the customer with a comment of praise. Artists, and there can be artists in virtually any venue, be it food, painting, storytelling, or decorating, live on that praise. We thrive on it and it drives us to create even more beautiful things.

So, don’t hold back. When you read a book you love, eat a meal you enjoy, view a house or room that has been constructed or decorated to please your eye, laud the artist with praise. In doing so, you’re making the world a more beautiful, positive, and peaceful place. You, in your praise, are creating beauty.”

For more information on Chris A. Jackson and his books including Pathfinder Tales – Pirate’s Honor check his website: www.jaxbooks.com and follow him on twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ChrisAJackson1 and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=726625842

Thanks again to Chris Jackson for his guest post. And now that I’m home from a 2 week trip visiting New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and California – watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have an inspired day! – Vonnie

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