Thursday, July 9, 2015

How Writers Get Inspired

First, let's get this out of the way: Sorry for lack of updating on monday and the late one today! Time got away from me and I find myself still recovering from a week of very little sleep but much socializing! So....worth it? But sorry! So here is an update--late again, I know--that I hope you enjoy! Now on with the thing you like: Reading my blog so you don't have to write/finish that book you're supposed to be working on!

Whenever a friend asks me what I'm working on I'll spew off not only the the book I'm on right now (hasn't changed. I know, it's sad!) and then I'll tell them about the two other books I have waiting to be written. And I get this look:

Then they ask that question I think all writers either are excited to answer, or want to bang their heads against a wall; "How do you come up with those ideas!?!?"

Half the time I want to hoard my secret and tell them to go get their own ideas and that to get such amazing concepts you have to join a cult and sacrifice a goat once a month. But really, the answer (at least for me) is very simple.

I don't do anything. 

No, really. Half the time, I'm not even sure how I get the ideas I do! Usually they come to me as dreams, or if they don't, they come to me when I'm doing the most mundane things in the world! For instance, a couple of nights ago I was walking to my car. It was misty and there was a slight breeze rustling the trees. As I stared down at my feet I imagined that I was walking on a line (I have no idea why!) when suddenly this story popped into my head mostly formed. It seriously was like reading the back of a book cover! 

But did you see that? I wasn't doing anything! I was walking to my car. One time, I got an idea for a story because I saw a commerical for detergent. The story had nothing to do with detergent, but somehow it signaled something in my wacko brain and made a story!

Is this normal?

I know every writer is different, and every writer you ask is going to tell you different ways they get ideas. Some are plotters. I have a wonderful friend who literally uses red string and paper to plot out her story on a wall. She gets ideas for it as she goes. I have friends who come up with it by going in to the Great Beyond while meditating and are given great books in exchange for their soul. You know, like you do. My own mother, who is a writer, comes up with ideas slowly. Lets it stew around in her mind and then methodically writes it out, and plots it. 

But me? Mostly my ideas come out of nowhere for no reason whatsoever, or I have a dream. I once had a dream in which two years past in the characters lives. When I wake up, or when I'm struck on the street by an idea, this is usually what I look like: 

Yeah. I scare a lot of strangers often. I once got an idea in the middle of a starbucks and exclaimed out loud "OMG THAT'S IT!". Yeah......if people didn't think I was crazy, they do now. 

But the point is, getting ideas isn't always 'easy'. Most writers aren't struck with this pure brilliant, perfectly crystal clear plot  in the blink of an eye. And if you're one of those writers (like me) who think they just plop from clouds and fly into your brain? Really your mind has been storing data for months and months and something triggers all these things to come together into one perfect idea. But your brain has been working on it. Stewing. Plotting. Waiting.

For instance, I was reading a lot of fairytales. I knew I wanted to write a YA book, but I wasn't sure about what. But whilst driving in my car a celtic like song came onto the radio and a picture formed in my mind. From there it was a lot of piecing things together, research, and trying to figure out the main plot. To this day I think it was the most elusive plot line I'd ever worked on. Now it's going to be an epic trilogy. So epic. But it took a lot of brainpower--more so than I'd ever had to do before!

So what kind of writer are you? How do you get your ideas? Do they come to you in dreams? Do you get a snippet of an idea and then craft it? Or do you plot it slowly and it takes months for an actual plot to come to mind? This writer wants to know!


  1. The picture of Joey is too perfect. That's how it happens for me, as well. I was once walking around the outside of the ball field, collecting home run balls. I stepped on tree roots while wearing my spikes and thought it felt like crunching fingers. Bam, story idea. It's incredible how the mind is able to twist the mundane, once it's properly programmed.

    1. Right!? Don't you love it!?!? This happened just last month when I got my idea for my newest book! I was walking at night, staring at my feet as I walked on a painted line on the street, and mist rolling in and BAM, story idea. I LOVE that our minds make things up from seemingly nothing! It means we're never bored right!? ;)