When it comes to getting inspired, look around you, there is no dearth of objects, places (or people) that can inspire even if it’s on a very basic and minimalist level.
Something as simple as a termite mound can inspire a brilliant idea in one man while the rest of us just walk by it without so much as a second glance at it. An architect, Mick Pearce, was inspired by it while he was designing a building in Zimbabwe that would not require air-conditioning. (The termite mound is kept cool by a system designed by insects that allows the air to be circulated from the base of the mound). This design helped reduce the electricity charges of the building to about one-tenth of an air-conditioned building of the same size. This, of course, belongs to the ‘realm’ of bio-mimetics but it’s not disconnected with the subject at hand.
Inspiration as a writer
It’s sometimes difficult to look for inspiration being a writer. But inspiration might just come right at you and hit you on your face thereby thrusting ‘a great idea’ (this is highly subjective) in your mind. A complete sense can be made out of chaos sometimes and it begins to inspire certain ideas which you never thought were possible. Inspiration plays with our mind, successfully channeling through the clandestine alleys of the mind and an idea springs up suddenly from it. I was inspired by a farm I visited when I was eighteen and the idea about my first novel developed in its lines. Over the next two years, I tried toying with the idea, re-visiting the place of inspiration in my mind over and over again. But something lacked. Bits of the idea felt like coarse grains that did not resemble one another. I dropped the project. I moved over to short stories. Read some very inspiring tales, about authors and studied people in general. Even their slight eccentricities amused me and the best part it, it creates a vibrant set up for a short story– just an idiosyncrasy to be dealt with.
Bits of the idea get linked
It was only last year that I was able to smooth out the disconnected grains and made a connection between them. I visited the hills this time. And they inspired me on a different plain. I kept a notebook. I noted down everything I felt; the shiver down my spine when I stood at the edge of a deep waterfall on a cloudy morning in May, rubbing my hands for warmth and pulling my jacket’s collar closer around my face while the plains I could see from the elevation had their tropical summer. I also noted down my experience during a meal at a tribal hut. How my mother insisted that we should stick to noodles and boiled eggs. How I looked around that small wooden cabin and studied the old animal-skin bag and the hunting weapons on the wall. They all inspired me so much that they silently crept into my manuscript some months later.
Construction and De-construction
In contrast to Ayn Rand‘s wonderful method of constructing the theme, plot and characters for her novels in a journal she kept for herself for her own clarity and understanding (now, this itself is very inspiring); this post only deconstructs an already complete novel only to revisit it’s initiation and development. It had simply started off as a simple project of imagining as being able to leave a constrictive city-life behind and wander off to strange and enigmatic places, meet new people, learn about their life-styles and weave a simple story encompassing the basic elements of mystery, self-discovery and romance.