Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Inspiration. When and where do you get yours? Whether you write novels, poems, short stories, memoirs, children's books or any other genre, where do you get most of your ideas? Many of my stories and characters are completely fiction--created in my head, and for some reason, I most often find inspiration in the shower. Don't ask me why but I have for years. When I worked in corporate America, an idea would come to me in the shower, and I'd have to quickly get out, dry off, and scribble down ideas for my next television script, branding campaign or billboard--all on slightly damp paper. Many nights, I get ideas as I start to doze off. This habit drives my husband batty. He awakens when I get out of bed, and he says he can hear my pen scratching away. I'll get back in bed and he'll ask, "What did you write now? Why don't you just wait until tomorrow." Um. I can't. It'll be gone by tomorrow. Of course, many of us get ideas from the Internet, newspapers, and television--and from our childhood memories. That's why they say, "Write what you know." A fun way to come up with new ideas for a story is to overhear tidbits of conversations in coffee shops, restaurants, at the hair salon or car wash. This type of people watching (and listening) also works well for character sketches. How about you? When and where do you get your inspiration?


  1. I've experienced inspiration in most of the venues you've named. Recently I have added a couple of places that help with character descriptions. One is riding the bus the other is in the casinos. People-watching (and listening) is always a wonderful source for building characters.

    My younger g-kids love to ride the bus and I find it a place full of colorful people that spark my curiosity and imagination.

  2. Walking sometimes triggers ideas for me. I used to walk with a small tape recorder, so I could record ideas.

    This really worked for me whenever I was "stuck" on something.

  3. Great idea, Shirley, AND healthy. I keep promising myself that I'm going to get busy with that particular exercise--weather has been the major deterent, lately.

    You must have your mind scanning EVERYTHING for ideas--you write more consistently than any members of any group that I belong to.

    I hang my head in shame!!

  4. Great ideas, ladies! Love the bus and casino idea for people watching/character building.

    A tape recorder is a great idea--and combining it with a walk for exercise--perfect.

  5. Mostly that Jabberwocky poem and Shakespeare.

  6. Percy, I LOVE that Jabberwocky poem! Saw it for the first time two years ago. Shakespeare doesn't do it for me. I'm not literary enough, I suppose. Sigh.

  7. Since I do YA historical fiction, I find many of my ideas by glimpses of happenings in my research. Some of the situations just "beg" for imaginative "additions"--i.e. one occasion where the cowpunchers killed a bear by throwing rocks at it (they wanted to save their bullets). True incident--priceless idea for a little drama/humor.

    I've been finding some "sparks" in the daily newspaper lately. Also, a magazine article prompted my imagination the other day--another of those incidents "begging" to be expanded. LOL

    I think as writer's we're "wired" differently from most people--inspiration comes from various "triggers"--a lot of them are VERY unlikely sources. At least my friends brave enough to say so, say I'm a bit on the strange side. LOL

  8. Ginny, it's great that you're so tuned in and aware. You're right. We have to be as writers. Interesting about the cowpunchers using rocks to save their bullets. Those are great details to weave into a story.