On the 36th anniversary of John Lennon’s death on December 9, I was thinking about how he had been a writing inspiration for me growing up.
He and Paul McCartney wrote songs that will live for hundreds of years.
That led me to remember that I have heard that perhaps more importantly than who motivates you is who motivated the person (or people) that motivated you?
Lennon, as I recall, was motivated by many people. From a showman’s standpoint, Elvis was a big influence. And, the story goes, that when The Beatles arrived in the United States, they said “We want to see Muddy Waters.” And people said “Where are they?”
Lennon was heavily influenced – early in his life, anyway – by his Aunt Mimi, after his mother died. His parents had separated and she basically brought him up. His album, Rock ‘n Roll (his last solo album), revealed his musical influences. People like Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly, Ben E. King and Chuck Berry were among them.
What motivates you? Music? Then, listen to it (or play more of it). Other forms of art or science? Then indulge in it! Money? I have heard that money doesn’t motivate – lack of it does.
Does going for a walk do it for you? Or taking a long drive in a car? Sometimes it is simply a cappuccino in your favorite coffee shop that inspires greatness. Or maybe it is your children.
What time of day are you most energetic? For some people, it is late at night. For others, it is in the wee wee hours of the morning.
Natalie Goldberg, in her book Writing Down The Bones, says to go where you are inspired. I once went over to New York City after a Toastmasters District Conference in Newark, NJ, and wound up in St. Thomas Cathedral at the corner of 53rd Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Attending a service there on a Sunday morning, I distinctly remember having the feeling that the place exuded the great American novel.
Years later I went back to The Big Apple, where I was originally inspired, and made major headway on my manuscript (of what was to become) Men Really DO Listen: How Men Listen Differently Than Women.
Why be inspired? I don’t think I need to explain that you can be so much more productive when you are passionate about what you are doing. It gives your life purpose.
How inspired are you? That depends. You might have to go to the well time and time again. Or you might even have to find something else that inspires you – because “familiarity breeds contempt.”
Just because. How many times have you heard that?
One of the tracks that was added to Rock ‘n Roll in 1994 was Just Because, written by Lloyd Price.
Many people believe that success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. There is a lot to be said for that. But, after you reach down and find your true passion, as John would tell you, “it’ll be (Just Like) Starting Over. “
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