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  • Arina Polyakova Franzén

Where to find inspiration?

Updated: Mar 6, 2019

One of the most frequently asked questions that I encounter in interviews, and in conversation with everyone who finds out that I'm a writer, is where I draw inspiration for writing my books. In fact, everything is much simpler than it seems at first glance - it is everywhere, you just have to look around. But sometimes, due to the dynamics of our everyday life, problems and general permanent fatigue, to see and feel the inspiration become tough, and then you can resort to auxiliary ways shown below that help you tune into the right direction and push to the creation.




1. The first and irreplaceable source of inspiration is nature. Find a quiet and secluded place in the forest, by the sea, in a park or garden, where you can remain alone with yourself and your thoughts. Hear the sounds of water, the singing of birds, feel the whiff of the wind on your skin, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Let nothing disturb you at this moment, and all troubles and problems dissolve in the air. Merge with nature and feel how it fills every cell of your body and mind with the beneficial energy of life. Sense how it rises through the feet from the ground and moves higher and higher. Relax and allow harmony to spread through your veins. Take a few more deep breaths and exhalations. Such meditation will help you find inner balance, clear thoughts and listen to yourself, to your potential and desires. And then, with new ideas and renewed energy, you will feel more power to start creating. It does not take much time - probably just 15 minutes a day, once a week or even once a month, doesn't matter, it will already bear fruit, help to maintain concentration and peace of mind.


2. A comfortable environment and the right entourage always helped me to create the right atmosphere and tune to work. For example, my irreplaceable attributes at the desk are burning large aromatic candles (often with the smell of cinnamon or vintage vanilla), quills, antiquarian books of the first edition in the original language (this is related to the specificity of my profession, being a historian), which pages often smell attic, a light mold and leather... like the history itself. I avoid new books at all, considering them lifeless and empty, unlike those that have already been held in hands many times and read before me - they sap energy.


Another necessary element in our days is a good computer, from the speakers of which in my case the music is always corresponding to the genre of the book I'm writing. But despite my passion for technical innovations, I also have an intense affection for rare things. Currently, the pride of my collection is the centennial typewriter Continental, which I found in one of the antique shops in Stockholm. That's what will never allow me to forget that I am a writer, and stands on my table as an incentive and criticism for all subsequent work.


Well, and what would work be without a cup of hot tea (or chocolate) with a wide variety of sweet accompaniments (cookies, buns, candies and other tempting little sugar sins).


Speaking shortly, surround yourself with the things you like: smells, drinks, music, a dog on your laps, a fluffy muttering cat on the knees, a cosy sweater, and anything that gives you pleasure, relaxation of the body and concentration of the mind.

3. Look for inspiration in the works of other authors: in films, books, pictures, music... It does not mean that you copy them - you are just expanding the range of ideas, views, and outlook. Find out what are the latest trends in your field, get acquainted with the work of colleagues. And do not forget about the classics - almost any school is built on the classics, and it is necessary to know it.


4. Go beyond the ordinary. I, as a biographer, often come across the fact that I do not understand my character, because of my moral and ethical norms. And then I have to study each of its actions and social phenomena separately, by watching films, reading specific literature, studying psychology, etc. For example, recently I had to lift and explore the whole layer of several social phenomena such as drug addiction, prostitution, and marginality.

My recommendation is to be open to opportunities and to look at objects from other points of view. It will not only expand the field for your activities, give a lot of new ideas that you can later use and transform into your context, but also will allow you to gain a deeper root in your views.


5. Another inexhaustible source of inspiration is people. In continuation of the thought stated above, I can say with sureness that communication with people from different social classes, with various levels of education, culture, and intellect, also allows you to expand a self-consciousness. And it does not matter whether you are at the centre of a passionate dispute or just watching from outside, discussing simple topics in the kitchen, being a member of the scientific round table or just having a meeting with an old friend. Let the opinion of your interlocutors not always coincide with yours - it's even better because that's how you can open new sides of your subject under discussion and get a grain of doubt... and doubt is well-known as the engine of progress.

Otherwise, you will find support and faith in what you are doing. Thus, there is no losing situation for you.


6. Travel! Discover new countries, traditions, and cultures. It is surprisingly entertaining and extremely informative. You are not only getting acquainted with the philosophy and way of life of other people but also learn something about yourself that you haven't even suspected before.

If there is no chance to travel abroad, you can always find the opportunity to travel around your own country - arrange a small tour, explore the surrounding area or simply go to the other end of the city, where you have never been before. There are always options; you just need to use them!

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