By Cait Collins
Where do you find inspiration? There are times my mind is blank. I try looking at scenic photographs, or maybe old photos. Then there’s searching the internet under historic sites, heroes, kings and queens. I even pull out my journal jar or a topic assignment book and still can’t come up with an idea. It can be very frustrating.
So what are some alternatives? Go to the mall and people watch? It could work. You might find that perfect character. But what makes one person stand out over another? Is it hair color or the chiseled jaw? Maybe it’s the way he’s dressed or even the pace at which he walks. Whatever the attraction, can it be used to craft a character?
I like listening to music. I prefer the easy listening kind. Josh Grobin is one of my favorites and then I find inspiration in movie scores and musicals. The other night I was half listening to a TV show and heard pan flutes in the score. There’s something beautifully haunting about pan flute music. Two lovers face each other knowing the relationship is not working. They love but it’s not enough. The music fades. She leans her head to his chest. He kisses the top of her head They separate, take a few steps and turn for one final look. So it’s kind of overly sentimental, but I can work with it. How did they meet? When did they know there were problems? What were the insurmountable issues? And there’s the beginning of a short story, a novel, or even a memoir.
Dreams are great inspiration. Just make sure you have a note pad handy to jot down the dream so you don’t forget the idea. Antique stores, museums, gardens can all be sources of inspiration when you’re stuck or even when you’re not looking for something to write. Some little something sparks the mind and the idea grows. Whatever triggers your thoughts and creativity should be explored.
Inspiration comes to each of us in its own special way. It may be as brash as a dream character beating you over the head and demanding “Write about me”. Or it appears as subtle as a spring breeze. However you find it, never reject it or ignore it. That spark or fleeting image may be a hint of something really big.