When Inspiration Strikes!

I’ve often wondered where other authors find their inspiration and, more importantly, when it strikes them.
Do they sit and meditate (aka having a cup of tea and a muffin!) until they experience that flash of brilliance which sets them off on a new path? Do they suddenly notice their muse making suggestions as they do their daily chores? Do they hear a revelation whilst queuing at the supermarket which delivers a new plot line for their main character? Could it be that inspiration only strikes when an author has done enough research to feel comfortable with planning a story around any given subject?

I suppose that all the above could be true for individual authors and, possibly, each author could have experienced each separate situation at different times in their lives and for different story lines.

For me, my writing life usually follows a given routine, but that is mainly due to my personal responsibilities during the day. I’m not in a position to stop what I’m doing to write down a good idea for a character or scene, so I try to avoid that part of my life while I am busy. I have found that this allows me to focus more intently during the time I have available and, happily, the ideas flow quite readily.

I usually find that inspiration strikes in the morning as I am preparing for the day. I can be in the shower, or brushing my teeth or relaxing over breakfast and the characters I have got to know so well seem to present themselves with a suggestion of a new journey they would like to take. Usually it’s quite an understandable step as I’m constantly aware of their ongoing story line, but sometimes I’m taken by surprise and realise that the idea began in my subconscious and only had time to develop because I stepped away from it and gave it space to breathe.

At this stage I quickly jot down the basic information in my notebook as previous ideas have been lost in the hustle and bustle of the day, but I don’t act on it immediately. It may be the only inspiration I have that week but, if I’m lucky, there will be several other ideas kicking around at the same time and I prefer to assess them all together.

When I get a free evening with a cuppa on the sofa, I take out the notebook and review the outlines I’ve imagined, choosing the ones which excite me the most. This is when I write out - by hand – a detailed synopsis for that scene or chapter or, sometimes, a character’s role in a complete book! If any phrasing or dialogue makes itself clear at that stage I will make a note as I go along, but mostly I focus on the character and how their emotions lead their actions. I use these notes, which are often quite extensive, as the basis of my writing so that I have a clear plan of what the issues are and how they will unfold. That gives me a relatively relaxed way to enjoy the actual writing process, where I have the information I need to create believable dialogue and can introduce any unusual situations with confidence.

I never read any “how to” books about writing and I’ve taken professional advice as a suggestion rather than an instruction. This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the effort put into the guidance they can provide, but I wouldn’t be comfortable changing the way I write to conform to usual expectations. My inspiration occurs naturally and I trust that my writing reads the same way. I hope I will continue to be motivated to create stories around the characters I love and I sincerely hope people will enjoy reading them, regardless of how the ideas originated.

Whatever the future brings, I always wake with optimism that some amazing thought will introduce itself to me as I prepare for the chores ahead. It’s a great start to the day!

I hope you will have an inspirational day too.
Happy reading x
2 likes ·   •  2 comments  •  flag
Share on Twitter
Published on December 09, 2016 02:51
Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Evelyn (new)

Evelyn Chartres Employed full-time and a child part-time means that I may not be able to capture an idea. However, when I have an idea it sort of sticks in my mind and lingers.

I use that sliver of a scene to write out the rest. No planning, just writing. What works for one author may not work for others!

message 2: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Wood Exactly! I'm always fascinated by the many different ways authors capture their fleeting ideas and transform them into a story because I doubt any of us follow the same pattern.
It's good to hear that other authors can find ways of harnessing that momentary inspiration and use it to further their writing :)

back to top