Thursday, September 10, 2009

Inspiration at your Local Library

I once met a writer who told me he doesn’t read—never has, never will. I can’t wrap my head around that concept. Writers are readers, right? At least that’s what I’ve always heard. It’s definitely been my experience. I believe for the vast majority of us, our first love will always be reading. If you weren’t practically addicted to the written word, it’s unlikely you would’ve ever been compelled to write when you were a kid and no one but your mother pretended you had a knack for it.

Today is Thursday, my Tips and Tricks Day to get the old creative juices flowing. I’ve been at this a while so I’ve found a trick or two that usually works for me. The point of Thursdays is to share those tricks, and hopefully learn a few myself. If you are a writer—or any type of self-starting, disciplined, ambitious individual—feel free to share here. I can always use a kick in the pants.

Few things motivate me more than a trip to the library. The smells, the sounds, the harsh lights— all work on my senses the moment I shove through the heavy glass door and step across the threshold. I typically head for the section of books in which I write. But sometimes I bypass the new releases and suspense sections and take a detour down an aisle I don’t normally go.

I am never disappointed, even if I don’t find a book I want to read. As I walk along the aisles, scanning titles with my eyes and my fingers, I drink up the images the books generate. I imagine an author bent over a keyboard, bleeding and sweating her burden onto the page, and knowing full well the reader must never realize how difficult it was to create that one perfectly written scene. I feel her pain, her frustration. I’ve been there a thousand times myself. And I’ll be there a thousand times a thousand more before it’s over.

Regardless of what books I see that day, which ones I load into my tote bag, I return home with a renewed sense of purpose; of excitement that I have a story in my head that won’t let me rest until it’s finished.

Not long ago, a reader paid me the highest compliment a writer can receive. “But it comes easy for you, Teresa. You don’t have to struggle to get your words onto the page.”

If she only knew. It’s always tough. Sometimes I think it gets tougher with every book. Every word, every sentence, every scene, every character takes a little piece of me. But isn’t that the point? Isn’t that why I sit down at my computer every morning and open up a file? Or open a vein as someone once said.

The next time you need inspiration or wonder if there’s really any point in writing when there are already so many doing it and doing it well, take a trip to your local library. If you are truly meant to write, if you have a message inside you, you will leave inspired and motivated and anxious to get back in front of your computer and give another piece of yourself to your work and the world.

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