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Drawing Inspiration: Great Writers on Finding Motivation within Yourself

By Scott Ragin

Sometimes you feel like there’s a hidden engine in your mind. It keeps you going, and going, and going. You’re motivated enough to complete the work, exercise, eat well, and clean the entire house for a single day. Most days, however, are not like that.

Maybe it’s the weather, or maybe it all started from that bad dream you had last night. The thing is: you can hardly get out of bed and you can’t find the motivation to go through this day. When things get bad, you can’t find motivation to go on with life.

That’s when quotes can help. Seriously; we’re not talking about those shallow quotes you see all over Instagram. We are talking about deep, moving seeds of inspiration that great writers felt the need to share. Do you know how motivated a writer has to be to write a story that keeps the readers glued down to the book for 1,200+ pages? A lot!

Writers know how to motivate themselves to do what they do best. Their pieces of wisdom can brighten our day, but they can also do something more powerful: change our point of view. Let’s start with the 7 lessons on inspiration we can learn from great writers...

1. A Lesson on Pain: It Has a Point

“Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.” – Bob Dylan

Yes, we’re allowed to quote Bob Dylan among great writers; the man just won a Nobel Prize. His songs are beautiful, and if you listen very closely, you’ll notice there’s a lot of pain in them. Can pain be inspiring? Can it help you find motivation? Well, guess what: that’s what pain is all about. We all hurt inside, and there’s no more or less in this story. The mountains of worries we have on our own backs are always heavier than those other people carry.

When you’re in pain, create. Turn it into something beautiful. Write, paint, play music, or simply make friendships deeper. Pain has the power to make us more sensible and more beautiful. It’s inspiring in its own, painful way.

2. A Lesson on Failure

“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.” – Neil Gaiman

Do you know how baby birds learn to fly? – By falling. Step by step, they learn that when they spread their wings, they can break the fall. When the baby birds don’t jump, their mothers push them out of the nest.

There is a valuable life lesson in this behavior, which Gaiman understood: the fall makes you learn. Maybe a real fall can kill you, but failure can’t. You only need to spread your wings and rise above the ground.

3. A Lesson on How We Treat Other People

“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Are you used to drawing inspiration from other people? Do you expect everyone to be nice to you, so you can be your best self? You have a wrong approach.

When you treat people well without expecting anything in return, you’ll be finding inspiration within yourself. You can inspire other people to be better, kinder, and more successful, only through your attitude.

4. A Lesson on Individuality

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

Yes, great writers need editors and publishers who sometimes “polish out” their work, and they even get writing help from people around them. Still, they keep their recognizable voice intact. That’s what we should all do: discover our voice and don’t allow people to affect it.

When you’re depressed and you’re wishing to be someone else, remind yourself: that’s not possible. In fact, that’s not even necessary, because you’re already cool enough. You can be cool when you individualize. Who do you really want to be? That’s where the inner inspiration comes from - the answer to that question.

5. A Lesson on Self-Realization

“I ask not for any crown
But that which all may win;
Nor try to conquer any world
Except the one within.”
- Louisa May Alcott

What’s your ultimate goal in life? When you think about it, life is not about money, fame, and success. Yes, all those things can make you feel happier, but ultimately, the only achievement that truly makes you happy is the personality you develop throughout the years of your life.

Alcott’s quote is very powerful, since it inspires us to go back to the root of all misery, misunderstanding, and unhappiness: the world within. When we start conquering it on our way to self-realization, we understand what the most important things in life are.

6. A Lesson on Fresh Starts

“How can I begin anything new with all of yesterday in me?” – Leonard Cohen

The present moment – that’s probably the most popular motif in today’s literature. It’s not a cliché; it’s something important to be reminded of, every single day. But, how exactly do you start living in the present moment? Leonard Cohen gives that lesson in a very simple verse. You only need to leave all of yesterday in its own point in time - yesterday.

The more you think about the past, the more it overshadows the present moment. That’s why you need to let it go. The best way to learn how to live in the present moment is through meditation. Take a course with a certified instructor and you’ll soon learn: the past is part of you, but you can’t let it control you. Your own will is the one in charge.

7. A Lesson on Belief

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 4/3 percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.” – Dr. Seuss

Do you know what works best when you feel down? – A bit of positive attitude. And, who’s better at inspiring positive attitude than Dr. Seuss? His work is not for kids only; its universal wisdom can instantly make us feel better. All it takes is a step back towards simplicity.

Do you believe in yourself? You should, because you’re awesome. You are a completely unique individual with some strength and weaknesses. Most of all, you’re someone who can make changes. All you need is belief, and you’ll succeed (98 and 4/3 percent guaranteed)!

When is the right time to pull yourself together and find inspiration to carry on with life? – Anytime! Hopefully, the 7 powerful quotes above made you understand that you don’t need much to make a change and start living a happier life. You already carry inspiration within; all you need to do is dig a little deeper to discover it.

Scott Ragin is a passionate writer who draws the inspiration from something that really means the most to him: his readers. He loves guiding other people through their writing practice and shares his ideas as a blogger. Scott is a writing expert at Aussiessay. Feel free to contact him at Facebook.
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