Lesson 6: Inspiration is Everywhere

Find yourself a writer.  Any will do, they can be non-fiction, fiction, poetry, ad writers.  Doesn’t matter, go get one.  Oh, don’t forget to take some coffee with you to entice them to follow.  Maybe find the Pied Piper for Writers if you can (also known as an Agent).

… Got one?

Okay, now, turn to them and ask this question, verbatim if you please:  What inspires your writing?


What did they say?

Let me guess:  “Uhh, I don’t know.”  Or some variation of it perhaps?  It’s not a very satisfying answer is it?  So try this question instead:  What inspired you to write (enter name of a piece they wrote)?

1/52 ideas

Ah, there, see.  Now you’ve gotten a better answer haven’t you?  Assuming you found a writer to ask that is.  If you’re a writer and asked yourself both questions (in order without peeking at the second one) you probably found yourself answering as I guessed you would.  I guessed it because that’s how I answer.

It’s been said half a dozen thousand times by writers around the world, past, present, and it will happen again in the future.  There isn’t a formula for inspiration.  I don’t know about other writers, but I’m glad there isn’t.  I’d be too afraid that we’d all be inspired to write the same story.  Talk about boring!

One thing I have been able to figure out for myself is that I find inspiration for stories or solutions to problems in the oddest of locations.  My family and friends know the symptoms well when it hits.

My eyes widen, mouth opens like a squeaky hinge as my hands start to twitch.  “Oh, oh!”  I’ll say as I rush to the nearest writing instrument available.  Most of the time it’s a pen and paper, sometimes it is my phone (but that takes too damn long to input), and now-a-days it’s my Google Nexus or my computer.  If I get to my computer first, I start writing like a mad woman with her butt on fire and the only way to put it out is to get the story out as fast as humanly possible.

According to my trusty dictionary inspiration means:

  1. The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative: “flashes of inspiration”.
  2. The quality of having been so stimulate, esp. when evident in something: “a moment of inspiration in an otherwise dull display”.

Inspiration is something everyone has for anything.  Chefs are inspired to make wonderfully delicious foods, teachers are inspired to teach an old subject in a new way.  The list could be endless and like writers, they don’t know how or why it hit them.  They can’t pinpoint where they found it either.  All they can do is say: “I was inspired.”


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