This tends to be the first thing people ask me when I tell them I’m a writer, and usually my reply either disappoints or confuses them, or both.
Where do I get my ideas from?
It’s not as simple as that. Writing prompts can help and have sparked ideas several times, but I know several people who say they can’t write without inspiration – writing prompts make no difference there, and neither do ideas.
I used to wait for inspiration when I was younger – you can’t just force the words to come, right? – but I don’t any more. I know a lot people who say they want to write, but can’t find the motivation or the inspiration to get any words down. The will is there but the ideas are lacking.
I write down a few ideas before I start writing my draft, but most ideas come as I write. The ones that emerge while I write are usually the best ones. But to get those I have to actually, well, write. It’s frustrating, and maybe this works for you, but I can’t sit down with the intention of getting a new idea and just have one. Ideas happen to me, I can’t force them short of actually writing – which guarantees nothing!
If you want to write, all you have to do is start and do it. It doesn’t matter if inspiration doesn’t hit you right away, or if you start with a weak idea that needs fleshing out. In the words of Maya Angelou-
Inspiration isn’t magic, even if it feels like it when it hits. The rush of a new idea or the solution to a pesky problem can be exhilarating, but if you’re going to wait for that most awesome of feelings before you start writing you might be in for a long wait.
I find this is something that really divides the crowd. A lot of people believe in the words of Maya Angelou, and I’m one of those people. But I also know a lot of others who swear they can’t force it, and would rather wait for weeks, months, sometimes longer than just try.
Where do you get your ideas from? What do you do when you lack inspiration? Do you write anyway – you can always cut things that don’t work in the edit, after all – or do you wait? What do you do when you have to wait for months, and nothing changes? I know some people who get frustrated when inspiration won’t come, and I don’t want you to experience the same thing! Talk to me, and maybe we can figure something out.
Or maybe you do have a solution? A way of finding inspiration? Get a cookie and let’s have a chat!
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