Finding Inspiration from Unlikely Sources

 

Happy Friday! I have a real treat for you guys, but, first, let’s have a quick chat. Be honest. We writers wear a lot of hats. We, of course, have the Writer Hat, but then comes the Mom or Dad Hat, the Employee Hat, the Maid Hat and Taxi Driver Hat, the Therapist Hat, the Friend Hat, the Police/Enforcer Hat (especially if you have small children, teenagers or needy pets), and on and on. We have many roles, and switching personalities so often and so many times a day can wear us out. In time, we might find that in the pile of all the “hats” we cannot find our Inspiration Hat anywhere. Likely it was put in with the whites and now everything will be pink. Sigh.

So when we do lose our inspiration, what can we do? How do we find it? My pal, and very talented writer Natalie C. Markey has some amazing solutions and is here to teach us to find inspiration from even the most unlikely places.

Take it away, Nat!

Thank you Kristen for having me back again! Last time I spoke about balancing writing with burp rags and Sesame Street.  Today I’m discussing writing inspiration. A topic that interests all writers, but still the toddler mom in me will sneak in a “Sesame Street” reference. Can’t you tell what plays on my office/playroom television more than CNN or the very fascinating History Channel?

I love quotes about inspiration. Dan Poytner once said, “If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” I also love, “I write when I’m inspired, and I see that I’m inspired at 9 am every morning,” said Peter De Vries. Or in my case, I’m inspired each morning at 4:30 am but everyone has his or her own routines because we are all different.

Writers are people. We have jobs, families and many other obligations. With that being said we must write whenever our schedules dictate, unless you are lucky enough to have tons of free time. I didn’t think so😉.

So what if a lack of inspiration is keeping us down? In truth, inspiration is not this complicated object that many have made it to be. Inspiration is all around us. I have found that sometimes the answers may be easier to find than you believe. “Relax, don’t over think it,” says my husband. And he is right but don’t tell him I said that! You can easily find inspiration or discover the answer to a troublesome scene by just living your life.

Just the other day I was stuck on a particular scene in a young adult fantasy manuscript. I write from home with my 19-month-old daughter so my writing breaks are always spent with her and the fun little monsters on Sesame Street.

Just the other day Snuffy (short for Mr. Snuffleupagus) said a simple word that lit a light bulb in my head. As I watched my daughter hum along to “Elmo’s World” in her cozy coup (because it’s more cool to watch “Sesame Street” drive-in Little Tikes style) I grabbed my iPAD, tapped on the notes applications and began jotting down ideas. It’s not the word that counts but the smallest thing that can set off your inspirational writer mojo.

My dog, Oscar is also very inspiring to me. Since I am a published author of a non-fiction dog book and working on another, he reminds me everyday about my audience and how I can make a difference. And he make a fantastic foot warmer while I write!

Always keep your eyes, ears and senses open as you go through life—not just when you’re in front of a keyboard. And I say senses because yes I was inspired by the smell of manure once but that’s another LONG story!

Staying open to your surroundings is especially important for the busiest of writers. Writer’s that must make the most of the precious writing time they get. If you’re a writing mom like I am, then I’m preaching to the choir. I’m returning to teach my month-long course presented by Write It Forward Workshops next month. It’s titled, Writing Moms: How to have it all without losing your mind. Hopefully it can help you manage the chaos and learn how you can fit your writing career among diapers, tantrums, homework, concerts, games, and your “paying job” if you have that too. Click here to learn more or to register.

I am giving away a FREE “seat” to someone who comments on this blog. Simply share your story of how something simple and seemingly unrelated created writing inspiration for you. I will put your names in my virtual hat and announce the winner on February 28.

Natalie C. Markey is a seasoned freelance writer including popular columns like The Mortal Instruments Examiner and Special Needs Dog Care Examiner. She is the author of “Caring for Your Special Needs Dogs.” Follow her on Twitter, Pen to Publish blog, and her website.

Thanks so much for taking time to help us out! I hope you guys will share your thoughts, feelings, stories because not only can you win this really cool prize from Natalie, but you also still get a chance to win my contest.

I LOVE hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of February, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of February I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.


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  1. #1 by Bob Mayer on February 24, 2012 - 11:06 am

    Looking forward to following the class- even though I’m not a working mom. I’m a working grandpa now.

    • #2 by Author Kristen Lamb on February 24, 2012 - 11:25 am

      Yay! So now you have the Grandpa Hat. That is so AWESOME. I am looking forward to the class, too. I can barely keep my head above water some days and it is only going to get worse.

      • #3 by Natalie C. Markey on February 24, 2012 - 2:05 pm

        YAY Bob!!!! That is so exciting a congrats! I had a Dad in my last class, I just typically have moms but the material applies to anyone who tries to juggle a job while caring for a child.

        And Kristen, we all have our days! I take pride in my organization and time management but I still get easily overwhelmed!!

  2. #4 by Laird Sapir on February 24, 2012 - 11:11 am

    Great post! I find that I get inspired frequently by random shows my kids are watching. They are both in LOVE with KidsTV123 (and the videos there, particularly the Shapes Song #2, have a magical ability to make my littlest one go to sleep) and those videos have this sort of odd 70’s vibe that sort of jolt my brain a little bit and make me think about things differently…

    Natalie, your workshop sounds great – I’m going to have to check that out!

  3. #5 by Patrick Thunstrom on February 24, 2012 - 11:14 am

    In an effort to keep myself in writing ‘work’, I have a file on my computer that is simply ‘Story Ideas.’ The thing is, I use it liberally. It’s my inspiration shotgun: As soon as something clicks and I go ‘hey, that’s cool!’ I drop it in the file. That inspiration can come from all sorts of places for me. Sometimes, it’s simply something a friend says to me. Or maybe a free association as I’m reading something. (Or editing. It’s amazing how many times editing gives me inspiration for another story!)

    I like the inspiration quotes, and I think a key lesson is: Inspiration is everywhere, it’s the trained senses to see it for what it is that may be lacking. And that only develops by practice.

  4. #6 by Carrie on February 24, 2012 - 11:16 am

    I am huge on prompts. I love prompts to get my creative juices flowing. Unfortunately sometimes I can’t write anything WITHOUT a prompt so it’s a double edged sword.

  5. #7 by katdish on February 24, 2012 - 11:16 am

    Funny. I was just in the middle of writing a story which was inspired by an envelope left on a table of an outdoor cafe when this post popped into my inbox. I suppose I’m always looking for stories, but the best ones seem to find me when I’m busy doing something else.

  6. #8 by Naomi Baltuck on February 24, 2012 - 11:18 am

    My daughter’s driving instructor is such a character–she has funny stories when I pick her up after her lesson each week. He has been an inspiration for a character in the book she and I are brainstorming.

  7. #9 by Joseph Ramirez on February 24, 2012 - 11:18 am

    Life sometimes seems to get in the way of writing… but really, all it’s doing is giving us ink for our pens (so to speak.) With life it seems like we have to fight for time to write, but without life we would have nothing to write about.

    I like this post. Ideas can come from anywhere. The muse can speak through the strangest things!

  8. #10 by Julie Day on February 24, 2012 - 11:23 am

    My inspirations are my passions in life such as helping the environment, what I read in papers about what’s happening in the world (my second Angel ebook due out is was inspired by a story I read about a teenager dying in a joyriding crash) and magic.

  9. #11 by April Plummer (@April_Plummer) on February 24, 2012 - 11:23 am

    I’m going to check out the class! That sounds like something I SOOOOO need! Let’s see…something seemingly unrelated….a million examples involving my daughter spring to mind. Her easy smile and quirky outlook on life are so inspiring! But I’ll give you a specific example. A couple months ago, we were playing a game together in the family room, and I realized that she’s losing that little girl giggle. I watched her and listened to her carefully for the remainder of the evening, and I realized it’s true – she still giggles, sometimes, but she’s losing it. Her laughter is turning into something different, something deeper.

    I whipped out my iPad and brought up Evernote and started typing anything that came to mind in regards to her little girl giggle and growing up laughter. I didn’t want to lose the memory of her giggle, but I wanted to appreciate her laughter as well.

    The next day, I let lose on the keyboard, typing away without thought, every once in awhile flashing back to my daughter’s growing laughter.

    • #12 by Natalie C. Markey on February 28, 2012 - 9:59 pm

      April,

      You are the second person now that has mentioned Evernote to me in the last few weeks. I must check it out! I will say my iPad has helped my organization and serves as a great distraction for my daughter. Some of the children apps are great!

      Natalie

  10. #13 by Marie Gilbert on February 24, 2012 - 11:27 am

    I get my inspiration from reading the paper and watching world news. You can’t make up half the stuff that is happening around us. My stories are dark and I find a steady supply of inspiration from the news, which is unfortunate for the world, but good for my stories. My blogs are about the adventures I get into with the grandkids, and adventures they are, so these stories are funny and with nine grandkids, I sometimes, have too much inspiration.

  11. #14 by Pauline Baird Jones on February 24, 2012 - 11:52 am

    My husband got gifted tickets to Zoo-to-do, a big charity event held at the zoo in New Orleans. Seeing all the gliterati arriving for this event, all the bright, bright lights and deep darkness, the sounds of the animals when the music stopped, it all hit me and I turned to the hubby and said, “This would be a great place for a murder.” LOL! I did end up using it in a book and we had a great time at the party, too. (grin)

    Thanks for the reminder to look around!

  12. #15 by Christy Farmer on February 24, 2012 - 11:56 am

    I really enjoyed your post Natalie! As a busy writer mom on the go, I find inspiration when I least expect it. One time I was grocery shopping and was purchasing many items that day for free with coupons. So I was really concentrating on my shopping list. Out of nowhere I get an idea for a complete story. All I could think was “OMG, I have to go home right now and write this!” It was a great experience and the writing did not want to stop😉

  13. #16 by Leanne Shirtliffe on February 24, 2012 - 12:18 pm

    Since I write about my kids’ funny antics and my own bizarre reactions to them, they are my inspiration. Beyond that, the world around me when I go on walks reminds me to notice the details, to expand the moment. And I get a ton of inspiration from other funny bloggers.🙂

    Great post!

  14. #17 by Tonia Marie Houston on February 24, 2012 - 12:29 pm

    I felt like my well had run dry, and I stepped out on my porch for a breather from all of my hats, as mentioned. It was a steel-cast day. I heard birds, and witnessed cardinals and blue jays frolicking on a bare oak across the street. I made notes and let the ideas simmer. Now, I’m working on a story titled The Winter Tree.
    I am a stay-at-home mom of three. I find that if I step outside of my box, inspiration can be found anywhere. Kudos to all writers, no matter the hats they wear.🙂

  15. #18 by Margo Berendsen on February 24, 2012 - 12:30 pm

    Inspiration for my work-in-progress came from a very simple fairy tale I was reading to my kids one night.

  16. #19 by Michael Rochelle on February 24, 2012 - 1:03 pm

    My problem is that after wearing all the hats, I’m too tired and wore out even though I have the inspiration to write. Once I’m done with work and school, the last thing I want to think about is looking at a computer screen or trying to be creative. My weekly blog posts have dropped to monthly because when I sit there at the computer, I have nothing left creatively unless I force it. All that to say, like many other writers, I need inspiration with a hint of being refreshed so that the task that I love doesn’t seem like a continuation of the more mundane activities that I trudge through daily.

  17. #20 by tomwisk on February 24, 2012 - 1:31 pm

    Get some of my best inspiration waiting for blood work at the VA hospital. Two older vets were talking about war experiences when one of the said, “I saw my father was murdered in front of a bar,” Naturally I listened in. He told the story and I went away with a germ for a story. It took about a week of false starts until I wrote “Night Hunting” a short piece with murder and revenge. I entered in a Writer’s Digest contest and came in 43rd out of a thousand. It’s in the process of being expanded into a longer form. I visit it only when I’ve got something to add to the story. I don’t want to just add a lot of extra words.

    • #21 by Jenny Hansen on February 25, 2012 - 4:10 pm

      That’s lovely, Tom! Congrats on placing in the top 50…that’s no small feat.

  18. #22 by laurastanfill on February 24, 2012 - 1:42 pm

    My whole novel-in-progress grew out of reading one little noun in a glossary of musical terms. And my 4-year-old’s use (and misuse) of language inspires me on a regular basis.

  19. #23 by Marcy Kennedy on February 24, 2012 - 1:47 pm

    I don’t have a tablet, but I carry around an old-fashioned pen and notebook🙂 I drive my husband crazy sometimes because we’ll be out somewhere, and I’ll stop dead and tell him he has to wait for a second while I write something down. Sometimes it’s something as small as a smell, but other times it’s a blog post idea or a break through in the story I’m working on. Inspiration really is everywhere!

    • #24 by Natalie C. Markey on February 28, 2012 - 10:02 pm

      Marcy,

      I sleep with a pen and paper by my bed. Some of my best ideas for a new story or how to solve a problem with a current one come in the middle of the night. When I don’t have my contacts in a have sleepy eyes my iPad would not be my friend! Sometimes it is good to forget technology and return to basics.

      Natalie

  20. #25 by Carrie Daws (@CarrieDaws) on February 24, 2012 - 1:57 pm

    I had a moment of inspiration this morning driving home from the grocery store. The forest beside the road was smoldering from a recent “burn” — the firefighters come through each section every three years and burn down the growth to help prevent larger fires from carelessness or lightning strikes. Anyway, I remember reading how pinecones actually need the heat from fires to to release their seeds. While most of the brush was burned away, many new pine trees, through brown from the heat, were happily growing. Reminded me that it’s in the “heated” part of our lives where we often see fresh new growth that leads to greater things. I stopped to take a picture of a couple new trees — one brown and one with free green coming out of the top.

  21. #26 by Holly Michael on February 24, 2012 - 2:05 pm

    Hi Kristen. Hi Natalie. Wow! All these contests! Cool! Kristen bought your books. Read them. Reviewed Hello Blog on Goodreads and on Amazon. Gave you five stars. Natalie I’m going from this reply to your websites. Inspiration IS everywhere. Kristen inspired me! I’ve been trying to link my inspiration on my new blog (yeah, I’m a new blogger) to other writers sites that I like. This week I wanted to share photos and my experience of being in beatiful setting (the shore of the Arabian sea at midnight) and how do you even desribe that….I combined that thought with a blog about The Bookshelf Muse, a great site for finding descriptions. Now I’m featured on their site. LOVE how this works. http://www.writingstraight.com. Check out my blog please.

  22. #27 by Holly Michael on February 24, 2012 - 2:25 pm

    Another Inspiration I had was writing about Ash Wednesday and Hashtags just because they both had “ash” in them. Kinda silly, but it worked! Ok no more stalking this blog! Gotta go. Gotta write!

  23. #28 by Marla Martenson on February 24, 2012 - 2:38 pm

    I get inspiration from getting out and people watching. My books are non fiction, so I use real life stories and things that happen to me. I am always up for a new adventure to add to my experiences and stories.

  24. #29 by Karen Cunningham on February 24, 2012 - 2:40 pm

    Usually, inspiration comes to me when I’m driving. I guess it’s because I have to take my mind off whatever it is I’m stuck on, and focus on something else. Somehow that just shakes things loose. The only problem is remembering it when I’m finished driving!

    Love this post. Love this blog. I’m working my way through WANA. The going is slow right now, but steady.

  25. #30 by colonialist on February 24, 2012 - 2:56 pm

    Useful stuff to bear in mind.

    One thing I agree with most strongly is that in order to write you must start to do it. Sit at the keyboard without an idea in your head and simply start typing. Somthing will start flowing, and even if it is then deleted there is going to be something further, usable, which develops from it.

  26. #31 by Shannon @ Distracted by Prayer on February 24, 2012 - 2:56 pm

    I liked what you said about your dog- reminding you of your audience and how you can help them. I’m finishing a nonfiction book on the topic of prayer for the very busy person. Being a mom/writer gives me lots of material, if I choose to see my life that way.
    When I began this process, I pictured myself sitting uninterupted in my office for hours, clicking away at the keyboard. Phase two was almost giving up on the whole project because I didn’t have pristine writing conditions. But now I’m in Phase three- dealing with reality. It’s starting to feel like a “real job” now, and I like that.

  27. #32 by Lanette Kauten on February 24, 2012 - 3:06 pm

    Thanks for the encouraging blog.

    While I was working on the second draft of my novel, I started to think about what I was going to write next, but nothing came to mind. I wasn’t too concerned because I was still busy with the current project. Then I went on vacation and walked into a news stand at the airport, and on the cover of a magazine was one of my favorite singers growing up. After reading the article, an idea popped into my head, and I knew (or thought) what I was going to write next and was very excited about starting on it.

    When I got back from vacation, my daughter and a friend of hers got into some trouble. Something didn’t set right with me, and I knew my daughter was lying, so I checked her text messages. One of the texts she sent gave me a brilliant idea, and the text message is the working title for my next WIP (yes, I put the first idea off in favor of this one). I’m grateful to my daughter for giving me the inspiration I needed for my next book, but she’s still grounded for another two weeks.

  28. #33 by granbee on February 24, 2012 - 4:20 pm

    Kristen, I get my greatest inspirations from eavesdropping. Yes, I know it may not fit into Amy Vanderbuilt’s outlines for good manners, but it works for me. Also, the odd things perfect strangers say to you when you are out and about really are worth scribbling down as quickly as possible. For example, I parked as usual in a central location and walked all around town on a beautiful September day to complete my errands. I was returning to the central parking lot with bags over my arms, enjoying the beginnings of color and early autumn blooms in beds around shops. A gentleman I had never seen before approached me, offering me a ride. I thanked him and declined, pointing out that I was near my vehicle. I asked him why he thought I needed a ride. He said, “Because you were alone and you have white hair.” The title of my current adult fairytale series is, you guessed it, “White Hair Walking” and incorporates more than one “critter” with white hairs growning in strange places. These critters exhibit all manner of unusual walking methods!

    • #34 by Lanette Kauten on February 24, 2012 - 4:39 pm

      That’s great! I overhear odd conversations all the time, but it never occurred to me to use any of it in a book. I’m going to start eavesdropping more often.

  29. #35 by Maryann Miller on February 24, 2012 - 4:33 pm

    Love this piece. And I soooo want an iPad. When I get a great idea when I am not at my computer, I am always looking for where I left my steno pad. You can tell how long I have been jotting ideas. LOL

    It is so important to write those ideas down when we get them, though. I spent many years writing around toddlers and knew the importance of having my steno pad handy.

  30. #36 by Yvette on February 24, 2012 - 4:48 pm

    Hi Nat! Member of the choir here. When my boys are around me at their raucous, brick-slaying best I find it almost impossible to write. However, having said that, I do find that when I’m working on a book, it’s like I’m dialled in to inspiration. My book is always in my mind. So every single thing I hear or witness, or watch on tv, or see at the movies, or read can inspire me in some small way. I have to have notebooks everywhere just in case!
    Yvette Carol

  31. #37 by Nancy Gifford on February 24, 2012 - 8:09 pm

    I am thoroughly enjoying this Blog and so appreciate you, and your guests for their candid stories and humor. Thanks for taking the time to write. You, and your guests, are not only great reading but you also provide your readers with some wisdom (did you know that you were wise?).

    When asked about inspiration, I would have to say that it is my co-workers. I am just a meager clerk in a grocery store, who has the privelage to work with all of these wonderful people that supply Customer Service. They so inspired me that I started a Blog about them.and all of the great things I see them do. I get inspired and get paid, all at the same time. How’s that for inspiration?

    Thanks again!

  32. #38 by Char on February 24, 2012 - 8:31 pm

    I often find inspiration in song lyrics, creating entire scenes around 1 line of a song. And you are so right about being aware of everything around you. I was writing the climax of my novel and kept thinking ‘this has been done before – how can I make this different, shocking, something the reader won’t expect?’ I was driving down the road and spotted a couple of kids with baseball bats and I found my interesting twist.

    Thanks for a great post!

  33. #39 by About Time Publishing on February 24, 2012 - 9:02 pm

    Ah, Kristen, as usual you bring us all around to reality.
    But I too, have a philosophy about hats and genres.
    http://abouttimepublishing.wordpress.com/

  34. #40 by Becca on February 24, 2012 - 10:08 pm

    When I’m feeling burned out, I like to go outside. I feel the fresh air, watch the wildlife, and smell the flowers. After about 20 minutes or so, I feel refreshed and ready to get back to work.

  35. #41 by Debra Kristi on February 24, 2012 - 11:10 pm

    I take notes in a journal or on a notepad app on my phone to keep track of ideas I have when out and about. I find inspiration in so many things, from a song on the radio, a commercial or scene in a show, to something as simple as my daughter slipping her little hand in mine while we’re out hiking. And the things I see on those hikes can always bring up some interesting ideas as well.

  36. #42 by Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson on February 25, 2012 - 12:00 am

    Okay. Late to the party, but here goes. I sang the wrong words to a song the other day. My son was all: “Whaat?” Turns out the real words arevjustvas stoooopid as thecwirdsvi came up with. Alsobturnsvout, I’ve been making up words for a long time. Boom! Blog feature. Made It Up Mondays. I do them once a month. Because sometimes I’m a teacher, but sometimes I’m a twit.😉

  37. #43 by Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson on February 25, 2012 - 12:02 am

    Omigosh. It looks like I knocked back a box of Sangria while typing that! Take two:

    1) are just as
    2) the words I came
    3) also, it turns out

    The twit thing is now obvious.

  38. #44 by madjamison on February 25, 2012 - 12:41 am

    This is the first time I read your blog Kristen/Natalie and I like how it is almost like a radio show with a special guest and all. Kristen, I liked all the different hats you mentioned. I find that I have a lot of different writer hats aside from all the other “person” hats I wear. One blog is about national security and terrorism issues, another is about music, and still another is a role I play of being the village idiot…I do agree it’s hard to switch hats–or even figure out which hat you’re wearing sometimes.

  39. #45 by M. Darin Young on February 25, 2012 - 10:43 am

    Hi, Kristen. Only the second time I’ve read your blog, but this one does hit upon things I’ve been pondering of late (yet not writing about, unfortunately). The hats I wear are multiple as well, Dad, Writer (well, quite infrequently and only when the mood seems to strike), Husband, Voice-Over Talent, Soccer Mom–errr, Dad (though neither of my kids plays soccer but manage to keep me shuttling them around anyway), and so on. I carry a notebook and pens with me wherever I go so I can jot things down; however, I often find that something pops in mind while driving and I can’t very well jot notes at that time. Typically, by the time I stop someplace where I can write, I’ve often lost whatever had occurred to me. But I do recall a few years ago that my daughter was hopping around and clapping. That triggered an idea for a Seussian-like title. I haven’t written the darned thing yet but I do have notes for possible text scattered throughout the notebooks I’ve carried around the last few years. Maybe I’ll get around to writing it one of these days.🙂

    • #46 by Yvette on February 25, 2012 - 3:01 pm

      M.Darin have you thought of buying a small dictaphone? I used to use mine in my journalism days. And I found it super handy when it came to reading my stories aloud, I could listen to them back and see all sorts of minor errors in dialogue flow and things like that. Unfortunately my small son decided he liked it too and now alas, it is broken, but that’s another story! That way you could keep it with you in the car and never lose any of those gems.
      Yvette Carol

      • #47 by M. Darin Young on February 26, 2012 - 11:12 am

        Yvette,

        Thanks for the suggestion. An acquaintance suggested the same thing a few months ago. I’d forgotten about it until earlier this week, and I’ve since been doing some research price-wise, etc.
        Again, thanks.
        M. Darin Young

  40. #48 by simonpaulwoodward on February 25, 2012 - 12:45 pm

    I believe that after being blocked for a year, E. L. Doctorow just started writing about the wall he was starring at, and this became the opening of Ragtime. I’m no E. L. Doctorow, but I find walking and running always frees up my thought processes. I’ll often have to stop and jot notes on my iPhone. My Greyhounds aren’t fans of this – they like a good uninterrupted walk!

  41. #49 by Serena Dracis, Author on February 25, 2012 - 1:14 pm

    Maybe it’s because I’m still early in my writing, but I find if I take breaks and walk away from my WIP, I’ll find my inspiration in the unlikeliest of places. A random phrase, or a song on the radio will get me thinking about new plot lines and dialogue. I guess it helps that before I started writing things down, I’d script scenes in my head for my own entertainment. 🙂

  42. #50 by Jenny Hansen on February 25, 2012 - 4:15 pm

    Natalie,

    As a mom who writes books, blogs, works part-time and also parents a toddler, I am completely interested in your class. I was too dang busy to take it the last time, but I’m thinking of it for this next run. I can always be more productive.

    It’s interesting, because I get so much inspiration from my daughter’s movies and shows, and just the lessons that she teaches me.

    I did an entire post on fear based on Tangled (that scene in the boat at the end of Act 2 where Rapunzel worries that the reality might not be as amazing as the dream). Kristen has done posts on Finding Nemo and the hero’s journey. I agree – inspiration is EVERYWHERE.🙂

    • #51 by Natalie C. Markey on February 28, 2012 - 10:07 pm

      Jenny,

      I hope to see you in class and keep in mind that you can take it all month at your own pace. This is time management your style. The class conversations will flow with the schedule but I will answer questions covering all the topics throughout the month. I’m doing an intro on the 1st and then officially kicking off the first lesson on the fifth, giving us four full weeks because who wants to start a lesson on a Thursday?

      Hope to “see” you soon!

      Natalie

  43. #52 by Heather Marsten on February 25, 2012 - 4:42 pm

    I’m now a writing mom of college aged kids (one graduated and has a job). The work doesn’t end, it just changes. I thought I’d have so much free time, but it gets snatched up by life. I still fit writing in, but will never get the Suzie Homemaker award.

    My best ideas come in the shower – maybe the ions in the water or the lack of interruptions, but many of my Bible study or writing ideas emerge from there. I have to make sure to dry off and write them down.

    One unusual incident happened when my 20 year old son was three. He woke up from his nap grumpy and I said, “You must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.” He looked at me puzzled and said, “But there’s only one side I can get out of, my bed is next to the wall.” I realized how many times our statements are puzzling to kids. They take us literally.

    Have a blessed day.
    Heather

  44. #53 by Joanna Aislinn on February 26, 2012 - 12:24 am

    Nice post, Natalie. My blog is the fun place where I’ll tackle almost any subject. Inspiration for posts comes from subjects like skin and my kids’ friends calling out from the streets. I’ve been inspired to write about books I’ve read and the NY Giants recent trip to the Superbowl. Now, I’m goung to look thru my (15 y/o) son’s journal prompts for more. I so wish story developments came that easily for me. Thnx for your giveaway too!

  45. #54 by Staci on February 26, 2012 - 12:46 am

    Reblogged this on my forever 31 life and commented:
    Nicely done. Thanks. Will probably re-read. In fact, I’m quite sure of it.🙂

  46. #55 by Reetta Raitanen (@ReettaRaitanen) on February 26, 2012 - 7:18 am

    Your class is exactly what I need, Natalie. I signed up.

    I second eavesdropping as a great way to get story ideas. Hearing something really interesting can inspire dialogue or characters. I also like watching people while I sit in a bus stop and wonder who they are, where they are going and what they are thinking.

    I’m a visual person so I have a huge idea folder full of pictures of people, places and random photos. That file is also how I justify the time I spend on DeviantArt and Pinterested *grins* All story research. I’m saving the pictures that capture my imagination for future use.

  47. #56 by Jenyfer Matthews on February 26, 2012 - 8:38 am

    I love to eavesdrop to get ideas – sometimes on my children! They say the funniest things without even knowing it🙂

    I too am interested in the workshop. My children are a bit older and so are in school all day – you’d think I’d have all the time in the world to write while they are away – but there is always something….

  48. #57 by Morgan (mjmayze) on February 26, 2012 - 6:08 pm

    Thanks for the encouraging post! I have a 2 year old and a “paying job” so you’re class sounds right up my alley. I got my inspiration for my current novel from a commercial for some product that I can’t even remember as it was totally unrelated, but there was one image that sparked an idea and I saw in my mind’s eye the entire plot unfold before me. I wasn’t looking for it and it just blindsided me, I immediately wrote it all down and I’m still loving every minute of it. True inspiration isn’t created, it creates.🙂

  49. #58 by Amelia Loken on February 26, 2012 - 7:22 pm

    Several foundational parts of my WIP are from my everyday life, including chopping vegetables, kneading dough, comforting children and walking three miles a day. Many of those early morning walks were the place where things became “unknotted” in my brain and where I have gotten great ideas that are piling up in my “ideas file”.

    One time I was at the park with my kids and watching them play when I had a thought about a dystopian society that dismissed motherhood as inconsequential. There are several out there. But I had this whole new viewpoint and had to jot down all my ideas for an hour after I got home. Who knows if it will turn into anything. But it was a fun lava flow of ideas.

  50. #59 by Adriana Ryan on February 26, 2012 - 7:43 pm

    Wonderful! I used to compartmentalize my life so much, it led to a complete leaching away of creative ideas at any other time except when I was sitting in front of my computer. And then, even when I was, I found I was too distracted/tired/etc. to come up with the things I used to. So now I try to keep my mind constantly tuned into the frequency that lets me in on cool ideas. The writer hat never completely comes off, and I like it that way.🙂

  51. #60 by freespiritshaz on February 27, 2012 - 4:42 am

    Reblogged this on freespiritshaz.

  52. #61 by Natalie C. Markey on February 28, 2012 - 10:12 pm

    What a fantastic conversation y’all! writing is like parenting in the fact that we need flexibility, growth and community. Kristen’s blog gives great people the opportunity toe discuss various writing topics and grow from everyone’s suggestions and ideas.

    Great stuff! And I hope to “see” some of you in class soon🙂

    Natalie

  53. #62 by Depression Symptom on March 23, 2012 - 8:11 pm

    Hey Warriorwriters,
    Interesting Post, Sometimes inspiration just strikes us when we least expect it. Maybe it was while shampooing your hair in the shower, or when you were taking your dog out for a walk. But then when you want inspiration to strike it can be difficult to find, no matter how much you wash your hair. Follow are four simple tips to help you get inspired when when you want to, not when you are not prepared for it.
    Regards

  54. #63 by Heather Marsten on March 23, 2012 - 9:05 pm

    You’re right – incorporating senses has been the thing that I’ve been working on this year and it’s made my story stronger. I miss the toddler days of Sesame Street, Barney, etc. Seems like they were going to go on forever, but now my youngest is a sophomore in college. Enjoy your little one now – at this point you are an authority in her eyes, all too soon we get to the whatever stage.

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