Do you have your cuppa nearyby? Do you call a cup of tea a cuppa? No matter. Here we are again. Thanks for coming back. There are apparently four of you following now – double the group from yesterday! And I know there are a few others who are reading along as well. Welcome to each of you.
Today the idea of inspiration has been on my mind. Both the idea of what inspires me, and how I in turn might inspire others or even just an other.
One of the reasons it’s taken me three years to decide to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is that I had no idea what I’d write a novel about. I read novels all the time. In fact, it’s fair to say I’m never without a novel within reach, whether it’s a paper and ink book or one I’m reading on my iPad reader, I am always reading (and I know I’m not unique in that). But I’ve never before had an idea that made me think…I could write a book about that.
Today in the hallway at work I passed a coworker who’s also a Facebook friend. She said, “How’s the writing going?” I admit my heart skipped a beat. I was a little giddy that here was this flesh-and-blood person (and not my spouse or my mother) asking me about my writing. And how did she know I was writing? From my Facebook post of course. I told her I was looking forward to sitting down to it tonight. She told me that she herself had lots of great ideas for stories, but she couldn’t get them down from her brain through her fingertips. I told her I was in the opposite situation; I could write for hours on next to nothing, but I hadn’t before had a single idea I’d consider writing up as a story.
Later in the day my mom texted me to ask if the novel you write for NaNoWriMo had to be fiction, or could it be nonfiction. I told her it could be either, and asked if she was thinking about doing it to. No, she said. But she thought maybe we could collaborate on telling her mother’s story. How cool is that? Of course I said yes. It won’t be what I write for NaNoWriMo this year, but doing the event in November should prepare me for diving into the process with Mom’s story about my grandmother. And actually, she’d be helping me to complete another item on my 50 before 50 list. My mother has great stories to tell about being one of eleven children, which her mother raised all on her own as grandpa was an over-the-road trucker who was rarely home. I’d love the chance to capture some of these stories and then write them up. Oh wait, I guess that’s an inspiration for a book idea, isn’t it?
As I mentioned in my first post, my other inspiration for a story came in a dream I had a few nights ago. It was more coherent than other dreams, and I kept returning to it even after waking and going back to sleep a couple of times. I was intrigued by the theme of the dream, and wanted to explore it. Eureka! Inspiration.
Still have some of that tea left? I’ve got about half cup. Let’s carry on.
So the second part of my pondering on inspiration has to do with inspiring others. There are many goals I’ve reached or steps towards a goal I’ve taken, because I saw someone else do it and thought, maybe I could do that. This novel writing month is one of them. I first heard of it on twitter several years ago. I kept seeing this funny hashtag, #NaNoWriMo on people’s tweets about word counts, sentence prompts, characters, etc. I finally searched and learned what this was. Most of the people I knew that were taking part in this madness, well, frankly, were just like me. They weren’t authors by trade. They had full-time day jobs, owned business, took care of families, etc. and wanted to have a go at writing a novel. I’m sure some had great expectations of publishing (and may have gone on to do so). Others might have just been seeing if they could do it. But they were all doing it, and I was inspired. I added it to my 50 before 50 list, and moved on to something else.
But as great as it feels to be inspired by someone else, to me, it’s even more exhilarating to know that something I did encouraged someone else to take a step towards a goal. As I mentioned yesterday, because I posted publicly about what I’m doing, I encouraged another Facebook friend to take part in the event for a 3rd time, though she hadn’t been planning on it. That was cool. And without minimizing the importance of that, something else happened that filled me with gratitude. I learned today that I inspired a young person. If you’re so inclined, feel free to read about this in the comment from Ingrid on yesterday’s post. There is now a 15 year old American girl/young woman living in China, thinking about joining NaMoWriMo because she and her mom read my post and were inspired.
Now, I don’t want that to sound all “look at me.” Because it’s so not about me. It’s about seeing something inside a person and connecting with that something inside yourself. Which as crazy as it seems, I firmly believe we have the capacity to do, without ever meeting the person face-to-face. Though in this case, I do very much hope to see both this girl and her mother in person one day. I look forward to reading what this young woman writes, if she decides to share it.
Who has inspired you? What did you do as a result of that inspiration? And who have you inspired to take a step towards their goal? Did you continue to encourage them?
Once again my tea cup is empty and my time is nearly up. Until tomorrow…