fiction · The Cereal Song

Where does Inspiration Come From?

Inspiration is a fickle thing. It comes and goes, and sometimes it doesn’t come at all. That, I think, is what people are referring to when they say they have writer’s block. They just don’t have any ideas, any inspiration.

I know the feeling. I haven’t had a single decent idea for a story since October. I feel like maybe I used up all my creativity on NaNoWriMo. Of course, that can’t possibly be true. Creativity is inside us constantly. We just have to know how to draw it out.

My inspiration for stories, when I have it, comes from all sorts of different places. Sometimes it starts with a setting, taken from a photograph or from something someone says. You could say to me, “I hate going to the grocery store. The baggers are always really slow.” And now I’m thinking about setting a story in a grocery store filled with lazy apathetic bag boys. (Like in my novel, The Cereal Song). One bag boy in particular smokes around the back and hates his parents but he sticks with his job because the boss lets him take the old pastries from the bakery which he uses to throw at passing cars.

Sometimes it comes from quotations. Sometimes it comes from other books and novels, other stories that I read and wonder if I can write a different version of it.

A lot of my inspiration comes from music and song lyrics. I’m one of those people who have music playing constantly which usually lends to ideas when I’m at a loss. Sometimes, if I’m really desperate, I go looking for writing prompts on the internet. There are plenty out there, but I tend to be picky and have to find the perfect one before it sparks any kind of idea.

If all else fails, I ask my friends for prompts to get me going. They may give me several ideas, but I might not choose any. Sometimes I’ll take one and manipulate it into something I want to write. Other times, I think about what they would like to read and I’ll write something for them because I know it will make them happy to read it.

Everyone gets their inspiration from different places and it creates a new and interesting story for each person who writes it. The same quote can produce many different versions of it which is really a great example of how differently people see the world.

Finding inspiration is sometimes an arduous task while other times, ideas just POP into your head. Those are the good times, but they can be few and far between. Take advantage of inspiration when it does come to you, but go looking for it as well. Just because you don’t have an idea, don’t let yourself get rusty like the Tin Man.

Keep writing. Inspiration will come.

Where does your inspiration come from? Does it come easily or is it like pulling teeth?

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