What’s Your Muse?

I am participating in StoryStorm, a challenge to create 30 story ideas in 30 days.  Daily blogs concentrate on helping provide inspiration for participants to generate story ideas.  It made me think – where does my inspiration come from?

I’m lucky.  I never seem to be short on ideas.  I’ve kept a journal of different story ideas that have popped into my head over the years.  But once I fully committed myself to my writing, the floodgates opened.  I have ideas streaming all around me, coming at me so fast and furious, I can’t keep up.  But that’s okay.  Ideas are never wasted.  A not-so-great idea may spark another better one.  Or you may revisit an idea in the future and be able to develop it then.  Reviewing old story ideas may make you laugh or cry or be inspired to a whole new level.

There is inspiration all around.  You just have to open yourself up to mindfulness – to paying attention to what could develop into a good story.  What would you – or your friends or family – be interested in reading?  A lot of my inspiration comes from private jokes I have with my family.  Sometimes these will only be funny to those on the inside, but a few of them have sparked larger ideas that would make a good book.

I’m sure you’ve heard “write what you know.”  It’s a good starting point.  Have you had a unique experience, been through a personal hardship, or had a funny encounter that you would like to share?  Or maybe you have insider’s knowledge on a topic.  My inspiration for my current novel stemmed from my husband being a graphic designer and art teacher.  The book helps promote interest in the Arts to middle-graders, combined with my love for adventure novels.  It also takes place partly in France, where I studied abroad in college.

Your hobbies and favorite pastimes can help inspire you since this is typically when you are happy and relaxed.  I love nature and just being outside.  Whether I’m hiking, gardening or riding my bike, fresh air and the beauty of nature provide countless inspiring visions for me.  Typically, this is where my poetry inspiration comes from.

Still having trouble with ideas?  Go out in public and observe others.  Look at a stranger (without being creepy) and try to figure out who they are.  What do they do for a living?  What are their likes and dislikes?  Why are they with the people around them?  Are they on a secret mission?  Did they just commit a crime?  Are they on the brink of becoming famous?  Get creative.

Sometimes it’s fun to get really outlandish with your stories.  Start with a simple concept – say a boy forgets to study for a test – and brainstorm crazy ideas about what happens to him.  Some might be too crazy to actually write about, but wacky ideas are unique and fun too.

Another idea to get things rolling is a game called Story Cubes®.  You roll a combination of special dice that have pictures on them and make up a story about the items that come up.  You could also play storytelling games with your friends.  One of you starts with saying a sentence; the next person has to add to it and so on.  Things usually tend to get silly and you may come up with a good story starter.  You could also role play with friends – each choose a random character and act like that person. The idea with these games is to get your creativity flowing, open up your mind to possibilities and HAVE FUN!

Check out the StoryStorm website and blogs for more ideas.  Where do you get your inspiration?

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