Inspiration: The gift……..and the gosh darn bloody curse

Posted: August 10, 2011 by Edmo in Dan

Stateside, at last!  Well, been here for a week, but that’s beside the point.  We have an article to churn out.  So here goes.

 

Yes, folks, inspiration can be a curse.  And it can be a gift, which is the case most of the time.

To begin with, let’s start with an inspiration primer.  Primer, you say?  What for?  Well, to recognize the multitude of places you can, should, and not feel bad about, pulling inspiration from.

I’ll start with a list.  There is no particular order of importance:

  1. Songs (lyrics, titles, atmosphere)
  2. Your daily life (the people around you, strangers, that pretty little girl in the white skirt with a tank top.  [You know what I’m talking about perverts! Those funny neon shoes she’s wearing of course.]  Routines, jobs, classes, creepy people on the metro, the bus, eating next to you in line, and that person in line at Walmart who won’t shut up about all the girls he’s slain with his mighty sword.  Yea, you can use these people and circumstances in a story.)
  3. Your love life, though I’d advise against that.  That’s just depressing.
  4. Your pets
  5. Nature (will come back to this one)
  6. A picture
  7. A memory
  8. A girl
  9. You.  In the shower.  Blaring Peter Cetera. No, really.
  10. Books, short stories, poems…The things your favorite writers write about.  If you have a particular genre you’re writing, eat up everything in that genre.  It’ll help, trust me.
  11. This place.
  12. General observation
  13. Stupid shit you and your friends do.  You know that stuff can be entertaining as hell if twisted into a story.
  14. Sex.  Ok.  This one is up to you.  But never underestimate the power of hot monkey sex leading to inspiration.  Just don’t be stupid and leave right in the middle of it to write said idea down.  That’s just dumb.
  15. Back to nature.  If you’re really lucky, places you’ve been.  Especially places in a different country.  This for example

PEACE PALACE FTW!

  1. Any other place you can think of.  Inspiration is limitless.
Alright.  So there’s the gift.  Inspiration comes from anywhere.  Capture it and form it into a story idea.  Or take multiple inspirations and make those into a story.
Now, the curse, at least for me.  Inspiration after inspiration for story ideas I want to do.  The problem comes when I’m already currently writing a story (or trying….frustratingly trying) and get a completely new idea for a new story.  Then I focus on that one.
That’s awesome right?  Maybe.  But then you get 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 new ideas.  What happens to 1&2 then?  They get relegated.  And they’re awesome story ideas.  It’s annoying.  I have about 5 legitimate story ideas I’m trying to work on.  Haven’t gotten very far in either except the planning phases of all and maybe a page or two or three of each. It’s difficult to flip a switch and focus on one while blotting on the others. You can’t do that, however.  You might be trucking along and have a particular idea fail for one story.  But lo and behold.  You have a couple others it might work in and to great depth.
I guess the thing is.  You’re a writer.  Unless you’re under a publishing deadline, you can take as long as you desire.  But, you have to cut off new story ideas at some point or you’ll never get finished.  I say the magic # is somewhere around 10.  Maybe 8.  Try not to go past it.  But, we’re all different.  My advise could mean shit to you as you might be a crazy good writer who can balance your writing.  If that’s the case…….I hate you.
Cheers.
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