Where does inspiration come from?
I got this question a lot. To be honest, I don’t know the answer. Even if I do, my process of getting there may differ from yours.
Nevertheless, I can tell you this. Always start with something that’s important to you. It doesn’t have to be grand or out-of-this-world proportions. You can get inspiration from the tiniest thing around you. And creation can take many forms. Since my medium is words, I’m creating stories through writing. My daughter’s medium is visual art, so she creates her stories through 3D diorama. My friend’s medium is music, so he creates his stories through songs. You get the idea.
My son and I had this bedtime routine years ago when he was still a toddler, that each night we would create our own story out of nothing. The story must be original, directly from our heads and not from books or movies. We can be as creative as crazy, because well, it is my story and I can do pretty much anything I want to it. The other great thing is that I was able to get my son’s interest to create along, adding this and that to my totally-just-made-up story. Boy, did we have fun.
In order for me to hold my son’s attention long enough, I must talk about something that I know, something that I have passion for. I need to be convincing. I cannot change the world, but I can influence how my son thinks with my story. No, I’m not talking about the writing part yet. I haven’t even written anything at that time. Growing up as a minority and often subjected to race discrimination, this equality issue matters to me a lot. It still does now. I don’t want my next generation to have to go through this again. I want to teach my kid the meaning of equality—and by default, inequality. I wanted him to learn about harmony and balance. As the result, Rainbow, my first children book, was born that night many light-years ago. As with Big Eyes, my other children book, my emphasis is on similar theme. Being different doesn’t always mean bad.
In everything that I create, I always ask myself, what do I want to say? What’s important about it? And because I’m a parent, I can’t escape this “what kind of message I want to convey” habit. “There’s always going to be a message, isn’t it, Mom, a morale we need to figure out?” I’m quoting my kids here. They say it with sarcastic tones directly to my face.
Ha-ha! Adorable. Not.
Notice that when you talk about something that’s important to you, you’ll turn passionate, you’ll be honest, thus making your voice more genuine. Don’t worry about the technicality of your creation at this point. Don’t worry about lots of things at this point. Just look inside of you and get what you want to talk out in the open.
For me, that is inspiration.
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