Inspiration: how do you get yours?

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Most of you who read this blog – or at least, I hope most of you – will know that away from here, I’m also a budding writer. All of you reading this will also know that I am a fan of the weekly vlogs on YouTube by the Fletcher posse – Tom, Giovanna and Carrie – and that I watch them religiously every week once they’re uploaded.

And in their vlogs last week, they all discussed the topic of inspiration and what inspires them in their day to day lives and passions. So with that in mind, I thought this would be a good idea to talk about my inspirations and how I get inspiration and yeah. This is just a little piece about my inspirations, that I hope will inspire you in turn. Enjoy!

  • REVISITING FAVOURITE BOOKS

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A bit of an obvious one, this, but a relevant one nonetheless. As a writer myself and a keen reader, I’m always looking for new approaches to write from or ways to explore writing/talking about my passions. One such instance was recently, when I was wanting to take a bit of a break from a children’s book/TV vehicle I’ve been working on for the last 18 months, and wanted to do a bit of writing about music but not necessarily anything journalistic.

Which led me to re-reading one of my personal favourite books: ’31 Songs’ by Nick Hornby. It isn’t so much an autobiography in the conventional sense. It’s a collection of essays he wrote about, oddly enough, 31 songs that have made a great impact and significance on him, ranging eclectically from Bruce Springsteen to Nelly Furtado. It was an interesting idea, and one that inspired me to start my own series of essays in one of my many notebooks.

A new notebook is like crack to me basically. Hence why when I go to The Works or Paperchase (note other high street stationers are available) of an occasional lunch break or shopping trip and they have a sale on, I’ll inevitably come out of there with three new notebooks with quirky designs on them, two of which will end up getting written or half written in, and one left blank for ages whilst I decide what to do with it.

This was the case with a Paperchase one I bought and it now houses my series of essays I am writing about 25 albums that mean a lot to me or hold significance, such was my inspiration from Nick Hornby. Why 25? Because, like Adele, I have decided to tentatively call the collection ’25’ as that is my current age. If it gets to a stage where I’m happy with some of them I might publish some here – but that’s for another blog post.

  • LYING IN BED/HAVING A BATH

I should perhaps point out at this juncture that the above picture is NOT the actual bath in my house. It looks nice but it’s not that girly, it’s purely for illustrative purposes in the context of my next source of inspiration. I find that when I’m completely alone with my thoughts – which isn’t very often in my daily schedule – it’s when I’m just about to nod off, or when I’m in the bath. And also when I’m in the bath and not doing my celebrated rendition of Blue singing ‘If You Come Back’ (I didn’t just type that). And it’s also when a lot of my ideas – good or otherwise – come to me.

Which is why, again, going back to the notebook thing, I keep a notebook beside my bed. So if I wake up at any point and I have an amazing and vivid dream, I can write it down or sketch down bits of it quickly. Inevitably, this has occasionally led to me waking up the following morning, or maybe some months down the line looking back through it, and seeing a random scribble about being in a riot with one of my friends who was dressed as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in her ‘Fight for This Love’ outfit whilst I wasn’t me and looked like Cheri Blair in drag and immediately question how much cheese I’d been eating before bed that night.

  • FUNNY THINGS ON THE INTERNET

One of the, I think, great, if potentially dangerous things about the internet, is how many funny things you can find it on now. Just sit me in front of YouTube for about an hour when I’m procrastinating from writing and/or have writer’s block, and what will start off as an innocent search for ‘impressions of (insert random celebrity’s name here)’ will lead me all to kinds of crazy hilarity.

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A search for one such parody that the now defunct sketch show ‘MadTV’ did in America of Madonna c.2000 thus led me, last year, from that rotating wall of videos YouTube suggests for you at the video’s end, to a segment of a live show from the US stand up comic Kathy Griffin, pictured above. For people reading this that aren’t from the US, I’ll explain. She’s a well known comic and sort of reality show star in the States – she starred in her own show called ‘My Life on the D-List’ over there and she regularly tours her stand up show as well.

Anyway. It led me to the above clip of her from the turn of the millennium ripping the pee out of Madonna’s attempt at being British once she married Guy Ritchie (‘From Michigan, lived in New York, and yet somehow British? She’s like something from a Dickensian novel’). I then spent about three days watching all her live stand up shows in full and my parents must have honestly wondered what had got into me every time I started belly laughing at the mere mention of frequent targets of her lampooning, like Oprah Winfrey and Britney Spears. And I believe anyone who can make you laugh like that for days after is pretty inspiring. We need more laughter in the world.

  • PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME

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I’m going to try and end this blog on a more serious note now. Because it’s not just funny American comedians on YouTube, or notebooks with pictures of llamas with shutter shades on, hell it’s not even just bizarro dreams induced from a late night craving of Jacob’s and mature cheddar. Oh no. On a more serious note, there are so many people in my day to day life – whether I know them personally or not – who inspire me. And I’m a firm believer in expressing gratitude for these inspiring people being around in my life, so in no particular, or exhaustive order, here goes:

  1. My eldest niece, Mia (pictured with me above), my nephew Finley and my newest niece Indi. Being an uncle to all of you is one of the things I treasure and love the most and it’s so inspiring watching you grow and develop each day into funny, inquisitive, caring and totally rad nieces and nephews.
  2. My mum and dad. My rock and bookends, two of my best friends but also the very foundation of where I’ve got my work ethic and drive from, and perhaps the best quality of all to support others and appreciate family.
  3. My former A Level English teachers, Diane Howes and Rebecca Iciek. A lot of what I’ve gone on to do in the eight years since you took my classes is a result of you encouraging me and pushing me to do things like entering writing competitions, writing my own scripts, and to ultimately try something I didn’t think I had in me – to go to uni and pursue a degree in writing and ultimately, go onto do things like writing this blog – and for that I will forever be in your debt.
  4. Olly Murs. Ah yes. I suppose this kind of goes without saying, but even taking the fact I am as dedicated a fan as they come of this geez, he is the best idol to have. I won’t exhaust the reasons why as I’ve already said why many times on here but I can say that everything I’ve experienced and done through being a fan and supporter of his for these last five years has made my life that bit happier and fuller.
  5. Sebastian Faulkes. Yes. The Sebastian Faulkes of ‘Birdsong’ fame. I was so blessed to meet him briefly at my graduation ceremony in 2012, where he was receiving an Honorary Doctorate, and was so inspired by his speech he gave in terms of what he said about following his dreams, pursuing his passion and about standing out from the crowd and embracing what makes you you. That has stuck with me ever since that day and I just hope I can one day have a career as successful as his.
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