In order to write, we first need an idea; a piece of inspiration that allows us to write an essay, a short story, a novel, a…whatever it might be. That inspiration has to come from somewhere, but where?
In truth, inspiration can—and should—come from anywhere. If you’re open to creative input from anywhere, then anything will give you inspiration. My first book in the current series I’m writing came from a jigsaw puzzle box of an alien planet. I can remember standing there, in front of the Woolworth’s building in Broadstairs—that dates it somewhat—for what could have been thirty seconds or fifteen seconds, I can’t be sure, and just feeling my mind fire off a hundred different questions. Where was this planet? Who lived there? Why did they live there? What was it like? I felt a thrill as I considered several points of view, and then everywhere I went over the next few weeks, more things inspired me to think creatively about the story which was forming in my head.
It can sometimes be hard to have a creative mind which is receptive to ideas which come from anywhere. We’re so often educated out of our creative when we’re young. Although school is not solely to blame, a combination of factors encourages children to adjust to the rest of society, to ‘fit in.’ As a result, we forget how to use our natural energies; our creativity.
But before that happens, children are naturals are finding a muse and an inner creativity. Post offices can be built using nothing more than strips of newspaper for money and card for stamps. Three trees can be transformed into a fully-grown magical forest. A rug in your front room can become a magical carpet able to take you away on journeys to far-flung places. Sofa cushions become the giant stone walls of a fortress.
Imaginary games filled up hours.
You need to dig deep and open your mind to all the possibilities that are out there. You need to look beyond the end of your nose and see what’s out there in the world, and constantly be asking questions. Why does that machine do that? Who is that man with the limp walking down the street? How do these pigeons decide to keep coming back to the same spot time after time, and what are they doing there? Any of these options have the potential to lead you somewhere with a piece of creative writing.
The next step is to capture these thoughts and be disciplined enough to do something with them. Purely having the thoughts isn’t enough—the raw creative energy is great, but it won’t get the thoughts recorded onto a piece of paper or a computer’s hard drive. You need to counterbalance your creativity with a drive to actually sit down and push the thoughts out and into some sort of coherent form. The discipline needed to allow your creative force full respect might sound like a dichotomy, but it isn’t; creativity and focus aren’t mutually exclusive. Instead, they combine to allow you the opportunity to craft something—and to develop your creative output into something people want to read.
So open your mind to creative possibilities, and consider any and all opportunities to seek out ideas. You never know where you might be inspired, so dismiss nothing and accept all opportunities.
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© 2018 Matthew Munson
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
Thanet-based author Matthew has three novels published by Inspired Quill, is an inveterate blogger, and writing is his passion.