On The Topic Of Inspiration Essay

877 words - 4 pages

Choosing a topic or finding the inspiration for material is the first step for writing an essay, book, article, blog, or any other form of written matter, and this step can often be the most difficult. Where do these ideas come from? Do they appear from thin air or does a higher power intervene, bestowing these lightning strikes of inspiration only on those deemed worthy? Does the writer do something to help themselves find inspiration and these beginnings? Michael Smith writes, “Beginnings don’t just occur. Beginnings have to be coaxed. They have to be lured and tricked and seduced. Or they have to be wrestled into submission, bludgeoned until they beg for mercy. They get dropped in the gutter, kicked to the curb, thrown out with the bathwater. And they get rescued, revisited, revised and revivified” (66). The process of writing can be almost painful for many individuals. Amongst college students, lack of inspiration and the struggle to find something meaningful to write about is often cited as a source of writing related stress. By examining where professional writers, both fiction and nonfiction, derived their inspiration, it is clear that most often inspiration is found in personal experiences, and may hold a key in helping college students find inspiration for their own works.
Celia Johnson, in The Great Idea Chase: How Famous Authors Stumbled upon Inspiration Far Away from the Writing Desk, advises, “To follow in their footsteps, walk away from your computer” (30). Writers throughout history have found inspiration in their everyday lives. Authors like John Steinbeck worked as a migrant worker where he observed a farmhand kill their boss. This event later became the inspiration for his novel, Of Mice and Men. J.R.R. Tolkien found inspiration for The Hobbit grading college exams, and Ken Kesey found inspiration for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest when he experimented with hallucinogenic drugs. Margret Mitchell and Gaston Leroux were both writing articles for newspapers when inspiration “struck” for their novels, Mary Shelley had a nightmare, and Kenneth Grahame was just trying to keep his son from crying (Johnson 30-31).
Though in each of these instances it may appear as though the writer had done nothing and then suddenly been filled with inspiration, upon closer examination that does not seem to be the case. In the instances of Margret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind and Gaston Leroux, author of Phantom of the Opera, both individuals were researching nonfiction subject matter. Part of Mitchell’s job, “for the Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine was interviewing the ‘Oldest Inhabitants’” of the city (Johnson 30). Mitchell had a...

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