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Writing Inspiration and a Contest

With all the discussion around the blogosphere on the Muse, it got me thinking about what inspires us in our writing. For me, it could be reading about another writer's journey to publication, reading an excellent MG book like Lauren Tarshis' Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree or Nan Marino's Neil Armstrong is My Uncle..., or eavesdropping on a group of kids who say/do crazy things like scream "Epic Failure!" at the movie screen or "I am a dwarf goat, you can't get me now!" followed by a dramatic collapse to the floor. But sometimes I turn to a book expressly created to inspire writers like:

If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit
by Brenda Ueland and The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

So, in honor of spreading around the inspiration, I thought I'd hold my first ever blog contest. Just post in the comments about what inspires you to write and I'll pick a first and second prize winner at random on Thursday, March 4th to send either Brenda Ueland's If You Want to Write or Annie Dillard's The Writing Life. First prize winner gets to pick which book they want, and second prize winner gets the other book. I can't wait to hear what inspires you!


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 1st, 2010 03:09 pm (UTC)
Definitely other books, stories, movies, etc -- even songs which have some kind of story will strike inspiration in me. Certain books (and I never know which ones) will inspire me to consider a story like that one but which moves in a completely different direction. For me, it's other tales which draw forth my own.
Mar. 1st, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
That's so interesting, Robin. No wonder you are a voracious reader!
Mar. 1st, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
Karen, I think I get inspiration very much like you do: from things I hear, read, and see. My brain seems to take those snippets and make connections with other snippets. Just a couple of weeks ago I was listening to an NPR bit about death row inmates and what it actually looks like when they're executed. It was so disturbing but also strangely fascinating, and it got something churning in my brain - the kernel for a new story perhaps?

Mar. 1st, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC)
i think when you're open to it, you're constantly picking up things to use in a future story. The Olympics inspired me for another story idea too.
Mar. 1st, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
I am definitely inspired by others around me. That could be writing friends who struggle and finally succeed, or family members who deal gracefully with disappointment, or my kids who say the kookiest things.

And I also happen to be a sponge: I take snippets from everywhere and store them away for future use. Most of my books usually contain at least one character or scene inspired from my life. (Notice I said "inspired from my life" and not "taken directly from my life.")
Mar. 1st, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
I'm also a sponge. Sometimes I don't realize how much until it comes out in something I write!
Mar. 2nd, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC)
For me, sometimes inspiration can come from a song that gets stuck in my head or reading someone else's story that opens me up to other possibilities.

Most of the time though I just begin to daydream - when I'm doing dishes or some mindless task at work - an image just pops into my head and my 'movie' starts to play out. Unfortunately, I forget all too often to write them down.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:42 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your inspirations. That must be so nice to have a movie play out in your head. i have no sense of the visuals, i hear voices like a radio play. Always seemed weird until i started writing them down as stories. LOL.
Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
My current WIP was inspired by hearing a Campbell's soup commercial on the radio. I've always written, like journals, to vent and destress and it so amazing how theraputic writing is. Before last year I hadn't written stories since college, and I can't believe it took me so long to get back into something I loved doing so much! All the fluffy hobbies I filled my time with, that were never fulfilling, except scrapbooking (because of the writing that went with it!)
Anyway, Karen, I gets snippets of ideas from everywhere! I just got another idea for a story and I sooooo want to start working on it now, but I am determined to put the current WIP first (for now!)
Mar. 3rd, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
That's interesting that you got a novel idea from a soup commercial. What did you pull from that? you definitely have a writer's mind. Thanks for sharing!
Mar. 3rd, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)
From that I went totally backwards-story title, characters, plot. It was weird how the idea came, and I was in the car so I had to pull over and write all my thoughts down! Isn't it funny what triggers a line of thought in your brain?
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )