??? Inspiration ???

I attended a writers conference this past weekend, which in turn, caused thoughts of inspiration to flood my mind. Not actual inspiration, just the concept of it.

As writers, we were told in this keynote speech, that we do not receive inspiration. That it is the deep recesses of our subconscious mind that are speaking to us. When someone is given a soapbox on which to stand upon, I always get a bit excited to listen to what rings true and what I process as crazy talk.

First, I need to define in·spi·ra·tion – noun \ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən, -(ˌ)spi-\ (Webster dictionary)

: something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone

: a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something

: a good idea

Here is the problem with the speakers claim that we do not receive inspiration. Listed above are three different ways to process what is inspiration. Is it something divine? Is it an external thing/person/experience? Or is it a good idea? With making the claim that we as artists and authors are uninspired, can easily offend. Because everyone sitting in the audience has a different opinion of what inspiration is, and where exactly it comes from.

Personally, I did not take offense. In fact, I was thoroughly entertained. But many did take offense, as I was sitting in the back and noticed people began to trickle out. Some shaking their heads in disapproval as they did so.

Many months ago I stumbled across this Ted talk by Elizabeth Gilbert. It affected me very much and I found myself dwelling on it for quite a while afterwards, I still do actually. I loved it. It rang true to me. I hope you will take the time to listen to it in its entirely.

My favorite part of the speech was when Elizabeth referenced Ruth Stone. Ruth said at times when she was working in the fields, an idea or a moment of inspiration would roar towards her like a freight train. She would run to catch it. I have felt this and to me, it is one of the most happy, enlightening feelings in the world. I have sprinted home or rushed through a shower to find a pen and paper (because turning on the computer to Word or Scrivener would take to long) to scribble down thoughts that have come completely unexpected.

So where do these thoughts come from? We all have our different opinions. Personally I’d like to say Ole Ole (watch the link above) and stick with that.

If you have comments or you were one in attendance, I would love to hear your thoughts.


10 Comments Add yours

  1. Jodi says:

    I guess it comes down to perspective, the thoughts have to come from somewhere either external or internal. My inspiration is usually something external that triggers a deeper internal response, as if the waking world wakens parts of my subconscious for fleeting moments. I always think to myself, “Wow, that’s really awesome, I’d better write that down!” and then get clobbered by life. One day… one day I’ll be one of those super cool writers that do that.


  2. Pam Williams says:

    I was not at the conference and did not hear the speech, but the speaker deserved to be heard. Those who left early came away with a distorted view because they did not hear all of his ideas in context. To then criticize him is unfair. I find Card nothing if not intellectually challenging, and that’s a great exercise for the gray matter between my ears. I recommend his book of essays, “A Storyteller in Zion” as a must-read for people who want to understand his ideas.


  3. Wow, how have I not heard that TED talk before, that was pretty awesome! Ole!!!


  4. Michelle says:

    Thank you for sharing that. I’ve given a lot of thought to what Card said over the last week or so. And frankly, I thought what she said rang more true for me personally than what Card had to say. As a caveat, I agree – in a sense – with Card. Perhaps maybe in our process to write and write well, we wait for divine inspiration instead of “showing up”, as Gilbert pointed out so eloquently. In other words, sometimes I think that I’m waiting for God to do the work for me…give me the idea to start with, give me all the words to put down, and so on.

    That being said, I believe in spiritual gifts, and I believe that spiritual gifts include the ability to express oneself through creative outlets. We’ve all been witness to divine moments in that expression. I can think of all sorts of performances that brought with them the Spirit. I can think of books I’ve read that honestly changed me because of the way the Spirit spoke through the author. We’re human, and perhaps our expressions aren’t executed perfectly, but that doesn’t make them less inspired.

    I don’t think all expression is inspired at all times. Much of the time when I am writing, it’s just me in the room. But there are specific things that I have written that came from an inspired sense to put something down in words. That is why I love what she said about doing our part. That’s what we do.


    1. taramayoros says:

      Recently I gave a lesson about this topic and came back to this old post. I am so sorry I missed these comments! Yours especially helped me when preparing my lesson. So thank you and Happy 2015!


  5. Thank you so much for sharing this. 🙂


  6. Andrea Smith says:

    I was at the conference and although I wasn’t offended, I also wasn’t enlightened or uplifted. The speech seemed very self indulgent and I felt uncomfortable and anxious. I didn’t agree. I do feel inspired at times, even inspired by God. It doesn’t mean that my current story plot was given by divine revelation or that my writing is perfect or should be considered scripture. But I know that God has given me talents that he wants me to learn, develop and use for good in my life. I feel he has guided me on my quest as a writer and as a musician. To me, that’s inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. taramayoros says:

      I am so sorry that your comment somehow slipped through my fingers, or feed. A little while ago I gave a lesson about this topic and came back to this old post. Thank you for your comment, it was very insightful as I was preparing my lesson 🙂


  7. Marion Jensen says:

    Some may have left because of what he was saying about inspiration, but there were many other things he said that folks struggled with, and in turn chose to leave. I almost left, but then found the discussion on Twitter to be insightful, and chose to stay.


  8. jeff7salter says:

    I’ve watched two TED talks from that lady and she’s terrific.


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