Inspiration for the Writing Life
Writers live twice.
I was sipping a bottle of iced tea and glanced at the writing inside the cap: “Spend more time on what makes you happy.”
Writing, reading, running, movies, spending time in nature, and visiting friends and family make me happy. What if I couldn’t do these things? What would a character in a story think or do, and how would he interact with people if he’s unable to pursue his passions?
Writing prompts are everywhere, and everything in life is material for your writing. These details will help you tell your story. What are you passionate about? What do you want the world to know?
I like to read my horoscope once or twice a week as simple food for thought, although the astrologer can be eerily accurate. One day last month, my horoscope said “You will have a strong feeling and a connection to a physical item. It’s OK to be unsure as to why.”
I happened to see a small, inexpensive journal while I was at the store, and was drawn to the blue and green shiny butterflies on the black cover. I took this as a sign that I needed to buy it, finish my current journal, and write more.
Your journal can be a great source of material. I’m reading Keeping a Journal You Love, by Sheila Bender, in which she shares practical instruction, writing prompts, and journals entries from 15 respected writers such as Pam Houston, Denise Levertov and Ron Carlson.
In the November/December 2012 issue of The Writer, Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Birds of Paradise, said: “When I’m starting a new book it seems as if everything inspires me. I think of that time as ‘sticky brain.’ Anything can set off a story: an angle of light through trees, an item in the newspaper or a bit of overheard gossip. Basically, I think you have to be sort of naturally receptive toward inspiration. Be open to being inspired by whatever comes your way – then you’ll never run out of ideas.”
Good luck on your writing journey! I’d love to hear what inspires you.
A version of this post originally appeared Nov. 20, 2012 on the Wayman Publishing blog.