When was the last time you played jacks? Skipped rope? Tried to swing all the way around at the park? When was the last time you looked in the mirror and saw the child you used to be? The innocence and curiosity of childhood is the kindling for the fire of creativity. It is the spark that brings stories to life. It is inspiration.
We all have that fire inside us. It drives us out into the snow when we know to stay inside. It’s why you just can’t walk around a big juicy looking puddle. It is the joy of simple little things that we used to relish in. Many of my writing friends and I have been asked innumerable times ‘Where do you get your ideas?” Depending on the genre you write, you have to get in touch with your inner child, or your inner perv, or inner witch. Whatever you write, you put a little (or a lot) of yourself in your stories. There is a vague resemblance to you in each of your important characters. We don’t always recognize them. Those of us who have looked closely in the mirror and seen our true selves see the resemblance quite clearly. Sometimes we write to quiet the voices in our heads, to put words to the pictures that parade around behind our eyelids at night. Sometimes we write to figure out stuff, to subconsciously work out the who/what/why/when/where of our deepest issues. I’ve always said shrinks become shrinks to fix their own problems. Writers write sometimes for the same reason.
Inspiration can come from outside sources, too. But without that spark from somewhere inside us, the flame doesn’t catch. I blogged on motivation, that I write because I have no choice. It’s true. I am compelled to write by my need for creative design. I write interesting stories because of the inspiration I find around me and inside my own naughty little heart. I can use words to make you cry, laugh, wonder, turn you on, scare you, or make you angry. Mostly I like to write things that make you think. If you read my words and stop and think about something you saw/read/heard/did today, think about how it affects your life, then I’ve done my job. If you read my words and smile because it reminds you of someone you haven’t talked to in a long time, I’ve done my job.
Someone in my chat group said Fantasy writers can just make stuff up. In a sense that’s true. You don’t have to have as much research as you do writing science fiction. You damn near need a degree to write hardcore sci-fi. Fantasy is easier but you still have rules. The games we played as children had rules too. But we always knew when and how to use those rules, sometimes bend those rules to our advantage. Inspiration is not the ability to just make stuff up. Inspiration is the ability to take an orange and create something besides juice. Inspiratin is the ability to find something where another person did not. Inspiration is vision, seeing the undiscovered lands where someone else only sees trees. Now I’ve got you thinking. I love my job….