Inspiration is everywhere. In the lyrics of a song, in an overheard conversation, in a random stray thought. What you do with it is entirely up to you.
Over the past few years, I've become what I'm sure some people would describe as "absent-minded" or "forgetful." My grandmother can ask me to bring her a kleenex on my way back from the kitchen but when I'm all wrapped up in my thoughts it's entirely possible that I'll sit down without grabbing the kleenex, Cheetos, Tylenol, whatever I was asked to bring on my way back. When I get an idea in my head I can't focus on anything else, I need to get that idea out before I can do anything else.
Where do I (and other writers) draw inspiration from?
These lyrics from Make Me Wanna Die by The Pretty Reckless could inspire a kickass start to a paranormal story, maybe even with a vampire theme. But it's not always the music or the beat, or even the lyrics themselves. Sometimes it's just about how the song makes you feel and the images and scenes they create in your head.
Conversations, whether overheard or otherwise can be great inspiration for dialogue. Like the image above says, clear warning... anything you say might at some time end up in my novel.
Dreams are a rich wonderland of writing inspiration. Daydreaming is great but when you close your eyes and fall asleep and travel into a world completely created by your subconscious amazing stories can spring forth. A lot of the dreams and past lives in my novel, Finding Elizabeth were based off dreams I've had throughout my life. The key is being able to write them down before you forget.
Look at this picture. Study it, get a real good look. What story does this picture tell? What is the girl running from? Are the headlights up ahead her salvation or her nightmare, continued? Writers can use pictures as inspiration to tell their story, as scene inspiration, a prompt, or to even help them visualize what they want to happen in a sequence.
Whether using the picture prompt in the last section or the writing prompt in this one, prompts can inspire writers to come up with all kinds of different stories. Afraid someone else will write the same story as you? Not likely because everyone sees the prompt differently and writes in different styles. It's like the saying "no two people ever read the same book" meaning each person views something in their own way, their own mindset.
and the best way to get inspired?
Reading makes for great inspiration. Reading a book about whatever you like may get you to thinking about the what ifs... and then you're off. As if I need to give you another reason to read more books. Remember, readers will rule the world, as soon as we finish this chapter.
These are just a few examples of things people can get inspired from. I once was inspired by looking at the shiny floor at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant... now that is a weird thing to get inspired by. Are you a writer? What inspires you, what gets you in the writing mood?
What tools can help you when you get inspired?
I highly recommend keeping something to write on and a writing utensil with you at all times. Whether it's a notepad, notebook, post-it note, napkin, pen, pencil, marker, eyeliner pencil.. you always want something on hand when that idea hits you. Don't have paper and a pen on hand but need to write down that awesome idea? Do you have a smartphone? There are tons of apps like Evernote that allow you to take notes right on your phone and who is ever that far away from their phone? Stick your writing stuff in your purse (or your pockets/wallet if you're a dude), next to your bed, in the bathroom for those awesome in-the-shower breakthroughs, and wherever else you hang out frequently.
Next week I think we'll discuss Character Inspiration...