I want to encourage all you writers to keep your eyes open and your notebook handy. You never know where and when inspiration will strike. A sunset. A snippet of conversation. Something you read.
Here are some suggestions on how to capture those moments:
- Keep a small notebook handy to record those things that strike you. If you carry a cell phone that has a camera, snap a picture of a visual that inspires you. (Be careful not to take pictures of identifiable property or strangers without permission.)
- Not sure if you should record something? Do it! Better to have several ideas you never use than forget that one you wish you could remember.
- Don’t worry if you have no idea how you will include what grabs your attention in your writing. When my son was in his mid-teens, he wanted a pair of army boots. Being the silly mom that I am, I bought him a pair that were several sizes too large, thinking maybe, just maybe, he might grow into them. He wore them to church shortly after that only to be asked by a dear, elderly friend of ours, “Hey, boots, where are you taking that boy?” I love it! Have I ever used it except in this kind of context? No, but I’m sure I will. It was just too priceless to forget.
- Pay particular attention to situations, places, and people you would normally walk right past without noticing. Writers—and all creatives—must learn to see beyond their normal range of vision.
- Remember to take your notebook and your camera on business trips, vacations, walks around the neighborhood. The funny thing about inspiration is that it can strike when you least expect it. Cliché as that sounds, it’s true. The more you train yourself to see it, the more inspiration will be ev-ery-where.
- Periodically, leaf through your notebook and your photos. You never know when something will strike you afresh and inspire your fingers to fly over the keyboard.
What inspires your writing? How do you keep track of those flashes of inspiration?
by Stephanie Nickel , CES Editor, Writer, Coach, and Critique Specialist