Friday, December 28, 2018

Finding Inspiration

One of the most important parts of a writer's physical toolkit is that thing that helps inspire them. This can be anything -- a coffee mug, a poster, or that thing in your office that always catches your eye and draws your thoughts, even if just for a moment. We need something like this because it reminds us about who we are as writers, and that we turn on some part of our brain now and then and really make things happen. It doesn't have to have meaning to anyone else but us, because it is our inspiration, and ours alone.

Mine is a stack of Post-It notes.

To most people, a simple office supply like that is nothing more than a thing we swipe from the supply cabinet at work (and I think that's where I got mine). However, like any inspiring item, its value is the attachment we place on it. There is nothing magic about these Post-It notes other than what I use them for, so when I see them, I become a writer.

We all have our tough periods for writing. I am recovering from a bad cold, so my writing is not at its strongest. However, this has been a benefit for my Post-It notes, and here's why. My little yellow stack of notes stays by my bed, a pen always close by. Whenever I wake up with some lingering idea from a weird dream still floating around, I write it on a Post-It note. Needless to say, the past few days of cold medicine and a mild fever has brought some weird ideas to mind. And whenever I wake from that fever dream with some random thought still echoing in my skull, I jot it down.

Is this magic? Does this capture the purest essence of the most brilliant of my many brilliant ideas? Not even close. However, it does grab something my mind had been processing so much that it leapt to the conscious side of awareness. Was it meaningful? Well, here are my last seven entries over the past month -- you tell me:

  • Toys have souls
  • 19th century penny-ante poker
  • That place in Chicago where runaway trains hide
  • Going back to grade school
  • My pet fire
  • I have to eat everything
  • Fireflies by Montrose Harbor
Anything? Are there any real gems there? Maybe they each say a little about me, or the things that go through my mind while under the influence of cold medicine. They might mean nothing to another writer. However, each one of those notes brings back that dream in vivid detail, along with all the feelings, emotions and weird ideations. And with that suite of emotional detail, I could write something about any one of those.

Will I? We will see. I am still on the mend, and trying to edit a manuscript ahead of a hard deadline. However, I do like the thought of writing about a pet fire, and there's a story about the souls of toys for sure. I would wager they all have stories in them, if I choose to write them.

The most important part, however, is that when I look at that stack of Post-It notes, I know there is a bunch of inspiration waiting there. It is not because the ideas are so good, but because that stack reminds me that I am a writer, and I can spin those into something worth reading.

(The next thing here worth reading will be on January 5th, 2019, as I slowly recover from New Year's Eve.)

2 comments:

  1. I've been inspired by peoples stories. Some reason people have always been opened up to me and told me their stories. Every story can be turned into a work of fiction. 7 billion people in this world each with at least one story, I'llo never run out of material.

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