A friend of mine had a stressful job for years and said she could only relax by setting up a lounge chair in her back yard on a sunny day and watching the laundry flapping and waving on the line.
I asked her if she had a gin and tonic alongside and she said no, she didn't, it was something about the movement of the clothes drying on the line, the sunshine on her face, and being on a patch of green (a small patch as she lived in the city) that did the trick for her.
My friend added that watching the washing inspired her with ideas for her job at the time, but when she retired, she carried on the laundry- watching to gain inspiration for her romance novels.
How do you get your inspiration for writing? Where does it come from?
Some writers have a 'muse' - a person, animal, object that inspires them. My cat Betsy would like to think she is my muse but unfortunately not. Author Tom Robbins does have one and he says, "I show up in my writing room at approximately 10 A.M. every morning without fail. Sometimes my muse sees fit to join me there and sometimes she doesn't, but she always knows where I'll be. She doesn't need to go hunting in the taverns or on the beach or drag the boulevard looking for me."
Sometimes inspiration to write comes from the simplest of things - perhaps a whiff of perfume as you pass someone on the street, the way the light shimmers on ripples of water at the lake, the taste of chocolate cake and whipped cream ...
Or watching the laundry flap in the breeze.
And there are those days when the muse, or the inspiration, doesn't appear for us. Then it's just a hard slog to get your words done for the day. But as Tom says, at least the muse, or the inspirational beings, know where you are. They don't need to go looking.
They'll find you.
Writing can be opportunistic.
If we're short of time, we grab an opportunity to write when we can - on the bus to work, at the kitchen table after the kids have been dropped at school.
Sometimes we submit a piece of writing to a magazine editor and they say, 'Great, I'll take it!'
We've made our approach at the right time, taking advantage of a window of opportunity before it closes.
And if you're a self employed writer, you're always looking for opportunities to get your writing out there, ways to make some money, become better known, get famous etc etc. You know.
And that can be difficult, a challenge, it goes against the grain because a lot of us writers aren't very entrepreneurial, we haven't worked in the field of PR so we don't know the ropes, and promoting ourselves just doesn't come easily. We'd rather be writing.
If you're well established, you can leave all that promotion stuff to someone else, like an agent or manager. Sigh .... maybe someday.
My attention has been caught recently by a real opportunist, a little creature that sees a chance, and takes it without care for the repercussions, mindful only of what this opportunity can provide for her.
Every time I open the garage door to get the car out, a little black cat rushes in. She goes straight to the woodpile stacked under the workbench and squeezes in way down the back where I cannot reach her. It's cozy back there, snug and dark. When I tell her she shouldn't be in my garage, she just looks at me with those bright, yellow eyes. That's all I see because she's black, and it's dark on top of the woodpile under the bench.
I open the roller door at different times each day and yet there she is, a little black ninja, prowling in the shadows, watching and waiting for the opportunity to make her mad dash for the security and comfort of her hiding place. I don't know where she comes from, or where she lives, but she is an opportunist, a stealthy, secretive watcher. She is sleek, well fed and beautiful, so she belongs to someone.
Before I knew what her deal was, I inadvertently locked her in overnight, twice. She didn't seem in the least bothered, in fact I think she enjoyed the chance for some uninterrupted hibernation. I can only imagine what her owners are thinking. Perhaps she is well known for such antics, and if she's missing a day or two, they think, 'Oh , she's shacked up again in someone's garage.'
Of course she lay up on the hood of the car, the heat from the engine making it a very comfortable perch indeed. Plenty of muddy paw prints to wash off.
So can we learn a lesson from this ninja cat?
Yes - stay vigilant, every day ... and when the door opens, rush in, look for your niche, get in there, hang out in it, even if you get stuck in there for a while, don't panic. Stay sleek and beautiful, and then leave your paw prints on the world for all to see.