Hi all! Time for another installment of GPF. Jenna's blog doesn't have a huge following yet, despite the fact that she's incredibly sweet, so please go head over and say hi! :-)
But let me stop talking. You're here to read Jenna's words, not mine...
Life: An Invitation to Inspiration
When you think of inspiration, what words come to mind? Do you think of toga-draped muses? Do you imagine of light bulbs flashing overhead? Do you picture a cozy coffeehouse corner? A mountain-top refuge? A riverside walk? Do you see scrap paper covered in squiggles, word lists and charts?
I think it’s different for all of us. I’m still figuring it out, but I find a lot of inspiration in everyday life.
Most of us don’t think of death and sickness as inspiring. Yet my first published magazine story had as its source the extraordinary final days of my grandfather. Few elements were changed and it wavered between fiction and fact. I gave the first draft to my mother on the one-year anniversary of his passing and then decided to try to sell it as part of my grieving/healing process. Not only did it sell, but I started learning a precious lesson on where I get my good ideas.
Since then, I have published stories about a true encounter with a moose on a hike and a benefit concert where kids raised 10,000 dollars. Somehow, my sci-fi story didn’t sell, neither did my Greek siren story. I wondered, “Is it because they really are things I imagined? Do they lack the emotion and texture of reality?”
I embarked on a middle grade fantasy and finished a first draft. But I was so uninspired! It wasn’t working. I felt like I was writing about a place to which I had never been and about people whom I had never met. I persevered and did a second draft. Nothing. No magic. I decided to change the story to be more about the things I know. It’s in the things that are ordinary, that I find the will to work and the words to write. The book is still in the rewrite process, but, as the French say, it speaks to me.
Opening my eyes and ears while doing something habitual, like riding the bus, talking to a friend or watching a movie is inspiration. Trying a new cuisine, reading a book on a subject of which I was ignorant or meeting a new couple and hearing the story of how they met is inspiration.
What stimulates you and brings ideas to the surface? Do you have life stories that you haven’t yet written?
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