It’s a common question non-writers ask writers: Where do you find your ideas?
And, I think, most writers reply with: Where don’t I get my ideas?
Every minute of every day can be an inspiration. A story idea can come from
- a thought
- a word
- an overheard snippet of conversation
- a person who crosses our line of vision
- a news headline
- something we read in a book
- a song lyric
- a sunset
- a sunrise
- pet antics
- a dream
- an object
- a historical fact
- helpful family and friends who seem to overflow with suggestions
- a cartoon or comic strip
- a painting
- a quiet moment
- a noisy cafe
Most of my inspiration comes from dreams, journaling, or prompts. I particularly enjoy photo prompts. Seeing a photo without any context makes my muse giggle and want to come out in a tutu to play.
To say my muse gets enthusiastic with a photo prompt is accurate. On occasion, a first draft of a story from a prompt will lead to a complete story. But more often it’s some word or phrase within that first draft that leads me to a story that needs to be told – or a character that needs his or her voice heard.
In regard to journaling (which I’m back to after a too-long hiatus), I find that by clearing clutter out of my head and getting it into my journal, my mind opens up and my dreams get very visual and can inspire stories.
Other than a couple of contests that I entered, I didn’t write any fiction last year. 2013 will see several stories written, and hopefully published! I’m part of a critique group again, which gives me the accountability. So along with that and my public statement here that I’ll write more, I’ll get some stories written.
What does your muse need to be creative? What type of inspiration fires you up the most?
Lisa J. Jackson is a New England-region journalist and a year-round chocolate and iced coffee lover. She loves working with words, and helping others with their own. As Lisa Haselton, she writes fiction, co-blogs about mystery-related writing topics at Pen, Ink, and Crimes, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is a chat moderator at The Writer’s Chatroom. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.