Monday, August 1, 2011

writerly inspirations

July was not a good blogging month for me! But August will be different. See, it's only August 1st and I already have a blog up.

One of the questions I often get is how I get my ideas. I'm never really sure how to answer because inspiration hits me in varied ways and places, and they often evolve so gradually before crystallizing into the final form that I can't really articulate where or how I got the "idea."

But there are two activities that - for me, at least - really seem to let loose the creative juices. One of them is running. I love to put on my running shoes, snap on my Garmin watch, plug in my earphones, and just take off. By the time I've hit mile two or three and my body is warmed up, my brain unlocks. The dam breaks, and creative waters start flowing. Plot holes, character issues, etc. etc., all seem to find obvious solutions.

The second activity is taking a shower. Something about the white noise of water splashing, the soothing impact of hot water spraying off me, has a calming impact on me, and in that zen mode, ideas really seem to rain down on me. I read a blog somewhere about one author who kept a diver's board in his shower to jot down his ideas so I guess I'm not the only one.

And sometimes, inspiration can come in the weirdest form. Last week, I was really stuck plot-wise with something in Book II, and neither running nor showering seemed to help. I was getting pretty frustrated when I read a retweet from someone in Simon and Schuster (UK) who had read The Hunt. That person (@kat99999) mentioned that listening to The National's High Violet had invoked thoughts about The Hunt because both were "haunting and creepy." That piqued my curiosity so I listened to the album. And wouldn't you know it, ten minutes later, as I listened to the album, my fingers started to dance across the keyboard. Writer's block, unblocked. Thanks, @kat9999.

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