Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Box of Inspiration

A box of inspiration...

A small box filled with a mishmash of toys. Pirates and action heroes, skeletons and spiders. An afternoon of adventure with a six year old's imagination. These things inspired an idea that developed into a story that is currently one of the two WIPs vying for my limited time and typing skills.

Something that looks more like an iSpy picture than a plotline, inspired a writer's mind to work overtime. It also got me thinking about the varied sources of my writing inspiration, and when that crazy thing called muse can strike.


It can come in many forms and be called many things. Maybe you see it as your muse, your friend, a whisper in the wind, or divine inspiration.

Maybe it calls to you in the middle of the night or nags at you like a buzzing fly for weeks on end until you can no longer ignore it. It may come like a lightning bolt, all at once, or be as painful and slow to draw out as a well rooted tooth.

It's that conversation with a friend that sparks an idea, that stranger who catches your eye and lingers on in your imagination. Or is it that childhood memory that made a forever impression? Perhaps another writer got your imagination working overtime, or a movie morphed into something new in your dreams.

No matter how it comes, where it's from, or what you call it, inspiration is what every writer lives to feel. That spark, which starts a story which compels us to finish it. It is at times a blessing, treasured and praised. It can also be a curse, a nagging, unavoidable obsession which cannot be quenched without labor pains and long nights of toil.


It comes when you least expect it. You must capture it and hold onto it, lest it vanish like a dream in the morning light. Because you never know, this inspiration may be the one. The one to inspire others, the one to cut through boundaries and take on a life of its own. The one, the story which must be told.

What are some of the simplest, strangest, most unexpected things which have inspired your writing? Do they haunt you, slowly developing into something tangible, or strike in the dead of night, like a dream you never quite awaken from?

What's your inspiration?


Melissa Crytzer Fry said...

Great post, Julie! I LOVE inspirational moments like this (and that a box of toys so inspired your WIP! What fun!).

The seeds for my stories come from all over - but I'm noticing that an 'event' or a 'person' or a 'detail' will strike me as interesting - and I file that information away. Later - sometimes years - the assortment of those filed tidbits come together to form a story. My current WIP began with a "what if" about three years ago. Then I gained some interesting insight from a family member about something totally unrelated, based on her own aunt (which ended up fitting in nicely). Then I thought a little more, and an event that happened years and years ago in my hometown that I'd wanted to write about ALSO fit in. Love it!

Jennifer Hillier said...

Ah, inspiration. If I could bottle it and save it for times when I really need it, my writing life would be so much easier.

I get inspired very early in the morning, or very late at night. I think because my fatigue at those times takes away my fear of making a bad decision.

Julie Geistfeld said...

Jennifer, I didn't used to bottle it, but then I had kids and my memory started to go... now I have to write it down as it comes.

That sounds like a great gathering of inspiration. My first MS was a lot like that, started brewing about 15 years earlier and accumulated until it had to be written. There was no stopping it then.

Thanks for the comments!