I’m one of those people who don’t do well with the question of “How do you get your ideas?” Don’t ask because I don’t know. Sure, I can tell you a particular inspiration for one or two, but as a whole? *shrug* Don’t know, I just get them. With that said, I do know of a few ways to trigger the thought process toward inspiring either a fresh story idea, a new approach, or a way to hack through a particularly stubborn scene I’m working on. I can’t guarantee that any of it will work for others, but surely one or two will.
1. Take a walk– I’m not one of those individuals that someone could call an exercise enthusiast. In fact I deplore the idea of jumping on a machine and run for 30 minutes and never going anywhere. I think it’s redundant, pointless, and boring… But, hey, that’s me. There are people who disagree (I married one of them) and that’s fine and dandy. However, with that said, I am one of those people who like to walk around the neighborhood, or through a park, or through the woods (love this one in fact). I’m in the fresh air, I’m surrounded by nature and the energy of the world and hey, I went somewhere. Can’t go wrong with that.
The trick, though, is that you either have to take a small pad of paper with you in case inspiration hits, or keep repeating it over and over in your mind until you get home. If you don’t, you forget it.
2. Read a book – I’m a fiction gal so I run to them and unless you write non-fiction I wouldn’t suggest reading one. With this said, I’m not saying that you should plagiarise because that’s a big no-no (I mean it, don’t do it) BUT reading the good books (as according to you) can show you how they managed to hack through a scene that is being a severe pain in your rear.
3. Play with the kids – Okay, obviously if you don’t have kids this won’t work for you (unless you can get your hands on a niece/nephew/cousin), but the sheer innocent way that kids look at the world can spur the most interesting ideas. For example: My daughter and I started this strange conversation about a city in the sky and what would happen if the power went out. As a response I wrote a short called “The Day the City fell” … which I will add to the Blog after I’m done with this post.
4. Day Dream – Ever hear the term space cadet? It was my nickname as a kid (no fooling, I was known as Space Cadet on the block). I was called it for two reasons. One, science geek. Two, I day-dream. I day-dream anywhere and anytime. I don’t even have to be alone, I can be in a crowded room and still day-dream with the best of them. Of course, people look at you funny when you start jotting down dialog on a napkin in a restaurant but who cares right?
5. Clean – Again, I’m not a clean freak. Actually, I hate to clean and this option is the last-ditch, nothing has worked and I’m at a loss of what to do. I think this has only worked for me once…maybe.
Those are my top … 4 with the last-ditch effort thrown in for good measure. I’d be interested to hear how other writers get their noggin’ jump started when they are having an inspirationally challenged moment.