Monday, 11 April 2011

'I' is for Ideas and Inspiring

As a writer, my brain often feels a bit like a washing machine, constantly whizzing, humming, buzzing, with new ideas I've found when I watch TV, drive, read the paper, sit in the hairdressers or stand in the queue at the supermarket.
Ideas pop up at the most inopportune moments. On a couple of occasions I had to jot them down on the back of a till receipt or use an eye liner to write key words and consequently, I've learnt to always carry a notepad around and even have one by the side of my bed in case I wake up in the night, suddenly struck by the next novel.

I’ve studied lots on how to generate ideas and overcome writer’s block but personally, I’ve never been short on ideas. My next three novels are imprinted firmly in my mind’s eye with thumbnail sketches of the characters, plot and settings for each. I have a writer’s bin where I keep all ideas, including titles and key phrases for stories or novels as well as any superfluous work I might have edited in the past. A bit like the loft, it’s important never to throw anything away. You never know when it might come in handy.
However, my problem is sometimes I don’t feel inspired to create anything with them. It’s really hard to come up with a piece of quality work or something of value for a blog, article or story line. I need something to inspire me - that trigger from the idea that gets me going, writing something I feel so passionately about, that once I start putting pen to paper and write the first word, it is a catalyst for everything else whirring around in my head, to transpose on to the piece of paper where your pen is yielded; an effortless transition from brain to pen to paper and before you know it, the piece has written itself.

When I’m truly inspired, I find I'm desperate to get that idea punched into the PC, and once I’m on a roll nothing will stop me, not even the internet connection (and Facebook and Blogger ;) I know part of this is tangled around discipline or motivation, and that's another blog altogether, but I’ve found the A – Z challenge has been really good for me -in an inspiring way.

- I’ve discovered that I am inspired and most productive when I’m writing about something that’s important to me. Then, the blogs almost write themselves.
- Despite it being extra workload on top of my existing, I’ve found myself constantly thinking of ideas, jotting things almost brainstorming in desperation, and when I look back over the ideas I’d written down, there are sometimes glimmers of little gems in there.
- It’s been better to brainstorm ideas and write down everything but the key has been doing it RIGHT NOW. There’s no time for procrastinating when I’m trying to blog every day and work on the novel to get it in for the RNA New Writers Scheme. I can always edit afterwards but I’ve needed to DO IT NOW to keep on top of the blogs.
- And finally, and a bit perverse, I’ve found that the pressure of time has also forced me to be creative and that’s been a real eye-opener.
English writer Graham Green attributes much of his success to that simple habit. He forced himself to write at least 500 words daily, whether he felt like it or not.

It’s the lifeblood of a writer to be able to generate ideas and get on with the work and perhaps creative inspiration can strike at any time, but it strikes more often when there is work instead of waiting.

So there's my 'I' - IDEAS and INSPIRING

How do you get ideas and inspire yourself to write?

Until another day
Bye for now


Bish Denham said...

I probably have too many ideas. It's difficult for me to focus long enough on one to get it down. But I'm determined.

I think Jack London also wrote 500 to 1000 words every day, no matter what.

Mari G said...

An artist friend tells me that "Filling the well" is the expression her fellow artists use for trying to come up with new ideas. Visiting an art gallery, watching a movie or simply going for a walk in a new place all come under "Filling the well."

I'm all out of ideas myself at the moment but am intrigued that I had earmarked "Ideas and inspiration" as my "I" post in this challenge. Great minds, maybe?
Lovely post, Bluestocking mum, you have said it all.

Mari G said...
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Josh Hoyt said...

I like the working rather than waiting idea. My inspiration comes when I am actively doing something not idling my time away. Great post.

Jennee said...

People watching and having conversations with strangers always gets those ideas flowing. People are so interesting. I've never had much problem with ideas either, it's the discipline of writing that gets me!

Elizabeth McKenzie said...

Excellent. My ideas come one at a time, usually. I like it like that. Otherwise I'd be running in circles.

Brianna said...

Running stimulates my creativity.
But there are times when my mind is just blank. I hate those times.

Talli Roland said...

Yay for ideas! I love that feeling when you get and exciting new and shiny idea. As a writer, there's nothing better, is there?

Karen Peterson said...

I never have a shortage of ideas either. And, like you, I have to write them down or I forget them.

So nice to meet a fellow A to Z participant.

Laura Eno said...

I can't tell you how many ideas I've lost because I didn't write them down at night, telling myself I'd remember them in the morning!
Nice to meet you!

Stephen Page said...

You still have a PC? Just kidding. Good post. Inspiring.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I liked your ideas! It is always good to keep a notepad by the bed just in case. It is also important to keep the ideas flowing. Nicely done. Julie

Siv Maria said...

I have awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award, you will find the details on my blog. Congrats!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Enjoyed the post - I love the fact that ideas come from all sorts of sources, it's the developing them I fall down on! That can happen when too many are fighting to be used.

All the best with the NWS - it's one of the best opportunities available to new authors.

Kat W said...

A blogging friend told me about this great A-Z idea. Like you, I too am not short of ideas usually but sometimes have to be motivated to create something with them. I agree it can be good to have something like the A-Z challenge & RNA to encourage and to have some deadline/time pressure.

I've done timed writing exercises for a long time to get myself in the flow of creating. I now offer TIC TOCC timed creative exercises via an email sign up on my blog. I find it good to throw myself into the creating and by only having to do ten or twenty minutes the pressure is off but I suddenly want to do more. Reverse psychology maybe. lol.

Inspiring positive post!
Kat :-)

Rachael Johns said...

So glad you came across my blog which led me to yours :) Love the A-Z idea. As for ideas... they always seem to pop up for me JUST as I'm nearing the end of a current wip. I have a zillion little notebooks with snippets of ideas but rarely actually go up and look at them.

Theresa Milstein said...

You sound similar to me. I get a bunch of idea and write down some info, sometimes even a few pages. But not every idea makes me passionate enough to keep going. If I write more than a chapter, I'm sticking to it.

How you stay inspired!