Writing is easy isn’t it? You just put a lot of words together and come up with a masterpiece. Lets face it anyone can do it. An infinite amount of monkeys given an infinite amount of time would be able to come up with an award winning book, or so goes the myth. However we as writers know theres a lot more to writing than actually putting words on the page or screen.
First though we have to have an idea of what to write. Like lighting a fire, we need that initial spark to ignite the creative process. When people talk about writer’s block, most actually mean they don’t have an idea about what to write (some good ideas about solving writer’s block can be found here). Finding the idea is all important, without it we have blank pages and no words. So where can we get that killer idea, the one that will make our stories better and stronger? Well there are a few ways we can find that inspiration.
Inspiration can come from books you read, websites you visit, films, TV and life. Dreams are good sources of material to write about. It might just be a short part of the plot but it could provide the hanger that the story will eventually build on. My own ideas have come from things as diverse as a view I came across, a song I listened to, an article about Gove or even a discussion on Pokemon. A little spark in each led to stories that had over 50,000 words each. They inspired me to think and plan stories. Sometimes the spark on its own isn’t strong enough to last a whole story, but it might just be the kindling you need to start.
It’s annoying really that the best ideas happen when you are without your notepad to take it down. The bath and shower are places I seem to weirdly find inspiration. My solution is to use the notes facility on my phone to either make a vocal note or write down the idea. Then I can transfer it to my ideas section ready for planning the plot. Yes planning is so important if you want to have a decent story (more in a later blog).
Sitting people watching is often a great way to get inspiration. Make up back stories to those sat around you in cafes. Maybe that girl in the corner absentmindedly stirring her tea is a runaway, felling the abuse her mother has been doling out. The man with the big bushy mustache and ramrod poise is a military man who is on a secret mission (latest story) or the solemn youth furtively looking everywhere has committed murder and in being sought by the police. Everyone has an interesting story to tell that you can either use as the keystone of your plot or as a bit part to add colour.
Never fight hard to find the spark though. Inspiration rarely comes to order. It’s annoying but true. If it doesn’t hit you straight away, don’t get anxious. Don’t suddenly think that you can’t write anymore. It’ll catch you unawares when you least expect it. That’s why writing ideas down is so useful. You have a store of them ready when the mood takes you. I’m sure with time, the spark will take light and turn your story into a blaze of glory. Carefully nurtured inspiration can take you in directions you never would have thought possible.