In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert explains how inspiration and creativity are divine interventions. She argues that we all have ideas buried inside of us and that it’s simply a matter of finding our strange jewels so we can write the novel, choreograph the dance, or take the amazing picture. Stick with me even if what I’m saying sounds hokey. I’m not a religious person for reasons I won’t get into here, but I believe in harnessing energy. Have you ever spent time with someone who instantly puts you in a bad or good mood? You’re picking up on their energy. Dogs and children are especially adept at this, so if Buster the boxer doesn’t like you, chances are that I won’t either.
I’ll explain my creative process to you below as best I can, and I would love to read about yours in the comments. After you hear how my novels come to life and where I get my ideas, you just might be convinced that the universe has a hand in inspiration and creativity. If not, then let me know where you think they come from below!
Finding our strange jewels
Here’s a secret: I don’t come up with any of my story ideas. They simply appear in my mind, sometimes as complete thoughts and other times as snippets of different scenes or just flashes of strong emotions that I need to weave together.
I wish I could turn inspiration on like a faucet, but instead it whispers in my ear whenever it feels like it and it’s up to me to write it down before it leaves. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, “I’ll write this idea down later” only to find that inspiration left me and told the idea to someone else instead (someone who didn’t wait until later).
Now I’ve learned that no matter where I am or what I’m doing to find a damn way to write down every snippet of an idea, even if I’m talking into my phone and leaving myself long winded voice memos to decipher later. I have never written a book in order because scenes come to me at random and sometimes ideas won’t leave me alone until I pay attention.
This doesn’t mean I only write when it’s easy or inspiration decides to grace me with its presence. If that was the case, no books would ever get written. Check out the books that have made me a better writer, how to research your book, and strategies to beat writers’ block to learn how I plug away even when I don’t want to.
If you’re open to the world around you and paying attention, you’ll start finding the strange jewels buried inside you too.
Where do you get your inspiration?
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