A to Z Challenge – Day 9 – I is for Inspiration

Hi all,

Apologies, I’m a wee bit late with the post today. I was going to schedule it beforehand but inspiration didn’t want to come – but at least it gave me my word for the day 🙂 Other writers will no doubt be aware that when people find out what you do one of the main questions you get asked (and pretty much a staple of author interview questions) is ‘where do you get your inspiration from?’ I always end up wishing I had a much better answer –  maybe I was visited by my main characters in a dream, or little elves left me magic post-it notes with story ideas on.

The slightly more boring answer is – from everywhere and everything. I was recently reading a rather good article on the ‘habits of creative people’ and the one that really struck a note was that they notice everything. They pay attention to the birds outside the window, they overhear little snippets of conversation on the bus, they notice the exact way the sun shines through the trees and the weird patterns it makes on the ground. As some of you know, I take photos as well, so I always thought it was a simply a habit ingrained from that – but it comes in very handy for the writing as well.


Another thing I find fascinating is ‘what if’ – if you see a newspaper headline, or a person on the street, if you hear a story from your childhood or some local history then ask yourself questions about it. Where are they going, what are they doing, how do they feel, if the story is an old one (especially if it’s a myth or a fairy story) then do you think it’s accurate – were the people telling it biased, after all history is often one-sided – what if there was a totally different story hidden in those bare facts. Often when I start on this path it can be hard to stop – this could be why I always have a notepad overflowing with ideas and only a handful of novels actually finished! But it is one of the most fun and interesting parts of the process – and maybe an excuse to buy more pretty notebooks. *coughs* I don’t really have a stationary problem!

I would love to hear about other people’s experiences. Feel free to share below x



5 responses to “A to Z Challenge – Day 9 – I is for Inspiration”

  1. Even I was a little late with the the post today but then inspiration had to strike 🙂 I enjoyed reading your write-up

  2. Inspiration and imagination seem to go hand in hand. And, as you say, noticing everything and having an insatiable (in my case) curiosity about almost everything. I’ve been kvetching over a post I’ve been stuck on for weeks about a memoir I read. I suddenly realized in the car yesterday, I don’t want to write about the book, I want to write TO the author! Inspiration! The post flowed like a stream after that 🙂

  3. You have to find inspiration in the every day, as you say, because that’s all there is. At least for me. I am not imaginative enough to find inspiration within. I need a kernel of reality on which to base a story. And sometimes as Sammy says, even then, it takes a different way of thinking about it for it to flow. You can’t force it. Well, you can, and sometimes, as writers we have to just to feel accomplished, but usually the product of this forced energy is not good, but it may be the stepping stone to something good (I don’t think this is an original thought. I think I got this from Anne Lamont’s Bird By Bird.) Boy, am I rambling! I’ll stop now.

    Best regards,

    PS: Visiting from the A to Z sign up page

  4. ‘What if’ questions are great for inspiration, I agree and observing the world around you. Great post.


  5. I for Inspiration! What an inspired thought. Inspiration means so much to us writers, it comes in a flash, often when we least expect them. I am here for the A to Z Challenge and shall drop by again.

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