“Does inspiration exist? Is there some kind of guaranteed way to be inspired, to produce ‘good’ work?” Junior English major Belanna Morales aimed to answer these questions in her audio essay on what inspires writers.
“I was curious if it was random and luck, or if it was hard work or if there was something in the world that causes inspiration,” Morales said.
Throughout Misty Krueger’s English 201 class, “Public Writing,” students have learned what public writing is and how to become engaged with it. Public writing is exactly that: writing for the public, and more targeted audiences. The course emphasizes writing for the Web and public relations, and includes work in producing audio essays.
Morales, a member of the class, was unsure of where to begin. “I was stuck, so I thought to myself, what do I have in my toolbox? I study English/Creative Writing, I work as a writing tutor [at Mantor Library] and see people struggle, so I thought of ways I could help them write essays.”
From there, she delved into navigating between investigating her questions on inspiration and the software used to compile the finished product.
“One of the hardest things was figuring out how to use the software; the longest process was putting it together and making sure it sounded pretty flawless,” Morales said.
For her essay, Morales interviewed English professor Kristen Case and two students. They agreed that yes sometimes things do come to you, and especially things from your past can inspire you, but you have to make it work
“One quote I highlight is from Kristen Case, who actually quoted [Pablo] Picasso; ‘Inspiration has to find you when you’re working,’”
One quote that did not make it into the final essay from English/Creative Writing major Annie Moloney echoes this sentiment; “Writing is a ‘labor of love,’ and you need to put in the work to see your inspiration become reality.”
“For example, the more you read, the better you write,” Morales added.
For Morales personally, she revealed that inspiration comes to her from memories or images she encounters throughout the day. “I’ll be inspired by a series of events and think ‘oh I hadn’t thought of that before,’ and I’ll write about that.”
In addition to investigating inspiration, tackling such an interactive format allowed Morales to see the ways in which audio and spoken word can add to the written word.
“One friend commented that my essay sounded like a documentary because of the mix of me and clips of my interviews. My listeners can get a direct comparison of what they’re saying [out loud vs. on paper],” she said. “You can’t hear [people’s] voices when you write a paper. and you can’t always have three quotes in a row.”
In addition to adding more depth to the written word, Morales observed that audio and talking out loud can break down mental barriers.
“Normally I don’t enjoy talking to strangers. I find conversation difficult, but this time it wasn’t that way,” she said. “I was so interested, any barriers I would put on myself beforehand kind of disappeared.”
“Sometimes there’s a barrier between your mind and the screen,” she added. “[During tutoring], people will be like, ‘I don’t know what to say,’ and they’ll tell me what they want to say and I’ll be like, ‘that’s great! Write that down!’ It’s great to take down that barrier; people don’t feel so much pressure to phrase things a certain way when they’re talking.”
Although she is not sure when she’ll have the opportunity to do another project like this, Morales said that she would like to do more audio essays in the future.
“Everyone should take this class!” Morales exclaimed with a laugh.