Yes, read on because I really can't rap it up in one.
I would like to say the blank page, but truly that doesn't inspire me. Dedication and commitment are required to overcome the blank page. I like having written more than I like writing. Not that the blank page terrifies me as it seems to terrify some... What inspires me to start writing is reading over the previous day's writing, and editing it. Nothing like it for getting me in the mood.
The draft. A finished draft -- that's inspiring. After all, you can fix a crappy page; you can't "fix" a blank one -- not as an editor.
Plotting time -- I don't get it often enough. At least a whole day without interruptions, with a clear table, big sheet of paper and pens. The question: what if?. And using that to explore possibilities -- that can get me truly excited. My fingers itching for the keybaord. The headspace that only comes at the end of semester, not when I'm reading student work and trying to hold all their stories in my head.
The night sky. In my younger days this would've been number one. I loved astronomy, and read books and books on it. Didn't have a telescope, and remember a humiliating incident when I met a government astronomer in America. His friends had said I had an interest in astronomy, and he was talking to me and then asked me the latitude of Melbourne and when I couldn't say with any certainty, he dissed me, told me not to waste his time as I clearly wasn't interested in astronomy at all. And he stalked off. I felt so low. All those books I was reading... Yes, clearly no interest at all. Taught me something about mankind though.
Talking to writers, spending time with them, especially my WWW and SuperNOVA friends. Talking plotting. Talking characters. Listening to them discuss their problems and offering up tactics. Listening to them offer me tactics too. Every writer needs that kind of support.
Enthusiasm -- hearing it at cons, when you get someone who's really on topic. Russell Kirkpatrick, for example, on maps. How can you not be infected? It's a virus -- one we all want to catch.
Swords and swordsmen in action. That long piece of steel -- not going to go into any phallic symbolism here, just that there's something about swords that makes me go gooey inside. Yeah, second post I've used that word in -- it's a worry.
Feeling part of a community -- whether it's my teaching fraternity at VU who have to be the greatest bunch of teachers ever -- or the SF community when I'm at a con, or the poetry community or whatever. Hearing the goss, marvelling at the bad behaviour of some. We all need to belong to something, and it's just fantastic that there is a community out there that we're all part of. The writing community may have its inner circles -- ones I don't yet belong too and, frankly, I must say I abhor the whole idea of it -- but it is still something terrific to be part of. Daunting when you're just starting out, but as time goes on and you network and know more and more people, it gets easier, and it really is very special.
So number seven is a series of seven smaller things. Okay, it isn't maths so it doesn't matter. Next we'll talk the theory of relativity and how if two people are moving in opposite directions at the speed of light after one hour they will be only one light-hour apart and not two as you would otherwise expect. Fascinating stuff. Does that mean I should have included science in there? No, I'm not nearly a rigorous enough reader of science anymore. I'm more interested in the heart than the cerebrum when it comes to writing.