11 April 2013

Helloooo, Muse!

Where do you get your ideas? This is a common question of authors. I'm not sure there's a common answer and I'm not sure there's even a "right" answer. I've heard people tell me they must be inspired. They must be in the mood. They can't write because they don't have an idea. To me, this is horsefeathers. One doesn't need an idea to write, one needs the simple act of applying ass to chair and write down what's in your head. It's hard at first, and sometimes in the middle, but it gets easier the more you do it. There's no magic to it. You just do it. The job description is "writer," not "waiter and seer of ideas," or "inspired person," or any of a hundred other myths. Audacity is what gets it done, not even necessarily talent.

So where can one get ideas?

Good thing you asked! It just so happens that this month, I'm teaching a free workshop over at Coffee Time Romance called "Using Prompts to Expand Your Repertoire". We'll explore where to get ideas and what to do with them once we get them. We'll play and write a lot and in the process, maybe just get an answer to the question, where do we get ideas?

Here are some of the places I get mine:

  1. Writing prompts - they create a picture in my mind and I tell a story
  2. Pictures - I've always been visually stimulated. I love going to the museum, walking outside in nature, wandering around a park, or poking around online.  The waterfall above is from Starved Rock State Park and I took that shot last Spring.
  3. Scents - I love scents and the way they stimulate the emotions. Try wandering into your spice rack and pull something off at random, sit down and inhale over it. Then pick up your pen and see what happens.
  4. Consequences - as an abuse survivor, consequences fascinate me because so often, bad behavior goes unchecked.  Many of my stories involve consequences of one sort or another.
  5. Solving problems with society - after all, until they install a phone line directly to my cell phone from the President's office, this is my way of changing the world one sentence at a time.
What inspires you?
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