Finding Our Core Inspiration: Step One, the Image

The power of words is clear for writers.

For me, they’re a sensual part of my life, whether on the page or spoken. For many of us, they’re the way we understand the world, the way we understand ourselves.

We practice writing as a kind of self-meditation, whether we write memoir, poetry, or non-fiction. Words become us; we become words. This is true of everyone to some degree, but for writers, words are more intimate, more powerful.

But they’re not the most primal of inspirations — they’re the translation of our inner drive.

Developing an authentic voice as a writer starts without words…

Words are the medium; we are the message. Or more accurately, our relationship with the world, our insights, knowledge, beliefs — that’s the message that we carry. It’s complicated. To find an authentic voice, we need to find a core of inspiration that will sustain us when words are clumsy and difficult for us.

Images help me ground in what matters, and move into receptivity and clarity so that the words come naturally. Here’s one that energizes me:

Image by Photographer Justin Resnick

“Folding Lava.” It reminds me of the power of Hawaii: Pele, Kilauea and the creation of land by slow, steady rising and cooling of Earth’s liquid core. It reminds me of patience, serendipity, fierceness. It gets me in my chair and open to receive inspiration and translate it into words.

What image helps you settle into the core of your inspiration? Keep it available. Use it to move through those always temporary writer’s blocks, to ground in who you are, so that what you have to say will have true heart.

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