Where does inspiration hide?

Think of the last time you went to a public reading by an author (I hope you have been to one, cause they’re awesome!) and it’s come to the end where the author, with a look of fear, timidly asks, “Are there any questions?”

Someone inevitably raises their hands and asks, “Where do you get your ideas?”

You can almost see the author crumbled on stage as several possible answers run through his or her head.

1) Um… I…willl….well… Oh damn, looks like our time is up. Thanks for coming, buy my book, bye!

2) My muse of course!

3) It’s hard to define where ideas come from, but that’s a great question.  

4) Screw you newbie.

5) I don’t know.

6) Magic!

7) (The author just panics as his or her brain melts into a puddle before your eyes.)

8 ) Ask your parents.

9) Well, my grandmother told me this story about…

10) THEY’RE MY IDEAS MINE! I WILL GUARD THE IDEA FOUNTAIN FOREVER! DO YOU HEAR ME? YOU’LL PRY THE KEY FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS BUT IT WILL KILL YOU CAUSE I COVERED IT IN ACID FIRST.

Not a one of those are super helpful answers because it is a hard question to answer. Inspiration isn’t something that has a set location that you can revisit forever and ever. Most of the time, the ideas are seemingly random, like some one is hiding in the clouds and pelting you with rocks.

Or birds...

So where does inspiration hide? The annoying answer: It’s all around you, like sunshine.

Okay, stop glaring at me.

The less annoying answer…. Seriously it’s in everything you do. Read the news, there are thousands of ideas there just waiting for you. Listen to the radio, listen to the people you’re around. Is the weather doing something weird? Take a picture of it. Read something that fires you up? Awesome.

Music is one of my biggest sources of inspiration. I listen to a song and suddenly an entire story has leapt into my head. And don’t forget people’s words are music. Listen to great speeches, listen to not so great speeches. Just listen all the time.  

Now, here’s the trick. To really find inspiration’s hiding spot you need to write it down. I know there are people out there who swear by not writing it down. I am not one of those people. I have the memory of a goldfish and after an idea is pass its three seconds of being shiny and new it’s likely gone.

The more you start writing the more you will start to notice and be inspired by. That’s how it has worked with me and now I am a certified inspiration catcher.

I even got this awesome button!

By reading this you too are now a fully fledged inspiration catcher so feel free to have the badge. Now, as fellow catchers let’s share some strategy! How/where do you find inspiration?

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4 Comments »

  1. Laura Said:

    Hahaaaa, this post literally made me laugh out loud. The idea fountain with the acid-covered key…haha…It’s kind of funny to read this because I can normally trace exactly where my ideas come from. Maybe the audience would prefer to remain ignorant after I’d told them, but still. Often I find that I pick up shards of ideas over time. Like I’ll have this character or setting completely and perfectly imagined, but with no place to put them. And yeah, I write it all down! Outlines!! 🙂 Coming back later to an early outline is fun and weird, because of all the changes you end up making…

    • Judy Black Said:

      Haha, I’m glad it made you laugh! I had fun writing it! Usually I can tell where inspiration comes from though sometimes it might not make sense for someone else. For example, my latest One Shot Wednesday poem, Princess Ana, all started because the word ‘skitter’ was demanding to be used. That was the inspiration.

      Outlines are great! I’m not very good at outlining but I am a profile fiend. I make character profiles for EVERYTHING! I love being able to come back to them and make changes.

  2. Inspiration really DOES hide everywhere. One of my last writing projects got started when the pigeons who roost in the top floor of the building next to where I work pooped on my car like it was some sort of birdie toilet just for them…which made me giggle all that much harder at this post.

    • Judy Black Said:

      Hahahaha, how funny!! The birds are taking over!

      But yes, inspiration really is everywhere, and what inspires you isn’t always going to inspire me, it really is such a personal thing.


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