Where Do I Find Inspiration?
By Jim Kuiken
By now most of you know that I’m a writer…I mean, you read my blog (which I had to write), right? And I’ve told you I’m writing a series of 10 novels as well. Writing must really come easy to me!
Contrary to the popular concept that all writers are wildly successful and rich…and as I’ve said before, that it’s like “Castle” on TV…he gets to run around, chase bad guys, play poker, etc…, and still write dozens of best sellers and earn a ton of money – that’s just not true. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to do that too.
It’s hard work. There are lots of distractions (busy does not mean productive), and writer’s block can be a real thing if you let it. Also, people just don’t understand that I actually have a job, with regular work hours (and many after-hours and weekend sessions), and think that I just sit around all day – available for impromptu phone calls to chat, to meet for coffee or lunch, time to get house and yard work done, go shopping, etc.
It’s very easy to not do anything productive because I’m just too busy doing all kinds of other things. Heck, I even do a lot of appearances and speaking engagements, which, although very important, also cut into productive writing time and break the flow of the developing story.
But the big thing is…wait for it…how in the heck do you think up all that stuff to write about, Kuiken? Where does all that come from?
Like many other writers, I have a story in my head that I want to get out onto paper. That doesn’t mean I know how to write it, just that it is there. That is the basis for the 10 book series.
But I write about all kinds of things in my blog postings. And just because I have a basic story in my head to write about, doesn’t mean that I have the thousands of details that have to be created and filled in to flesh out that very basic storyline in my head.
Like a lot of other writers, I get my inspiration from life. I’ve been (un?) lucky enough to have been in the wrong place at the right time many times in my life, which gives me a lot of background to work with. However, also like a lot of other writers, I’m an astute observer of life, people, places and events as well. I pay close attention to everyone and everything I’m exposed to, generally because I like most people, and care about what goes on in this world…but because I pay close attention, I pick up a lot of insight into and inspiration from those people, places and events.
But how does all that come together into a story? It doesn’t. It just goes into the files in my head, and when the bones of a story or post, etc., are outlined, then I am able to pluck those things that fit that storyline out of the files (often-times coupled with endless hours of exhaustive research) and use them to put flesh on the bones of the story.
Sometimes, you just have to sit and cogitate for a while, and let the story play out in your head. That’s a fairly dangerous time though, because some folks will think you’re not doing anything, and take that as an opening to engage you in conversation, ask you to do stuff, etc., etc., when in fact, you’re actually working – not daydreaming – but letting the storyline develop. I usually try to do this when no one is around, but sometimes I’m able to do that on an airplane, in the metro, or somewhere that I have spare time (not when I’m driving…).
Inspiration can come from anywhere, you just have to listen to your inner self, and be an engaged participant and observer of life. And if you want to write…then stop preparing, sit down, and write.
For more insight into the field of writing – see some of our previous posts: