We’re all are looking for inspiration of one sort or another. Whether it’s deciding on what to wear, decorating that bare wall, creating characters, or scanning your cabinets for dinner ideas. For a writer, knowing what gives you that spark of inspiration is essential.
I think of inspiration in the same way as I think of love. Not that magical, first bloom love, but old love, the long-enduring love, the forgiving love. There is work involved with old love, just as their is work involved with inspiration. It doesn’t just strike without any effort involved. Inspiration bestows its charm on those who work at it. Who nurture it.
Here is how I find my inspiration:
- History. The old saying that Truth is Stranger than Fiction is true. I’ve found so much inspiration in watching documentaries and reading books. One of the pivotal moments in my book, The Last Keeper’s Daughter, came from history. Ferdinand I of Naples had a nasty habit of keeping his enemies close, even after death….
- Exercise. Our dog, Giblet, loves a walk, and I’ve worked through many a plot by his side.
- Eavesdropping. Oh my, the things people say in public. Literally my ears have be scalded by what I’ve heard. Usually, I get the best tidbits while in the airport. Not always what they say either. Just the way people move, their ticks, even their clothing is always interesting.
- Books. I’m always reading. There might be a particular character that speaks to you, or a situation, or the setting.
- Movies and TV Series. It’s one thing to imagine a character, it’s another to see them move and talk and interact on screen. I find this incredibly powerful for creating a character by patterning them off another. Not that it’s just like the one I see, but something about them lets me fully visualize the character and then transfer that to the written word.
- Brainstorming. This isn’t precisely inspiration, but I think it belongs here. I think about the situation I’m writing and map out all the options. People are unpredictable. They are constantly saying one thing and meaning another. They deny their own desires, usually from fear. Pick a response that will intrigue the reader, something unexpected.
- Pinterest. I’m hopelessly hooked to this site. I can organize pictures, find pictures, and interact with people. I have a board called Inspiration that I drop pins in for current books or books I plan on writing.
- Gardening. Something about being creative in another medium always brings out ideas for my writing. Not sure why this is, but I’ve had more than one flash of inspiration while planting a tree or shrub.
- Dreams. I don’t know about you, but I have some strange dreams. Usually I forget, but there are dreams that stick with me and I make note of these.
- Not Thinking. This one seems odd, but sometimes the best thing to do is relax.