Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dirty Muse, Clean Writer: Where Does Inspiration Come From??

Hi, guys!! Hope you are doing well! :o)

I'm going to talk to you a bit about inspiration and where writers get their inspiration.

So in case you don't know me, I happen to tweet (Just a little. No, really.), and last week, I had a tweetversation with Tina and Wendy regarding showers. (Don't ask. One of my favorite hashtags comes into play here: #writersareweird) In the course of this conversation, we all grudgingly admitted one thing: our muses have dirty minds. They must. If they don't, then why does inspiration seem to only strike while we are in the shower??? (And herein lies the origin of my new favorite hashtag: #dirtymusecleanwriter)

Seriously, though, writers get inspiration from all around them. An image, a symbol, a line from a song, a person walking by... A writer can overhear the most innocent of conversations and be inspired to write a spy novel based on that conversation. The entire world that I created in my manuscript was inspired by a name.

I don't think writers walk through life looking for inspiration all of the time, but it seems to be a gift of ours to see and wonder. To see someone argue and wonder how it all started. To see a mother and daughter and wonder why exactly the mother is smiling with a single tear running down her face. To see a vending machine with the glass shattered and wonder what the hell happened. To see footprints on the ceiling of a tattoo parlor and wonder what creatures had fought there. To flip channels between a reality show and a news report of war and wonder what would happen in a world where those were combined.

The thing that makes us writers and not dreamers is that we write these musings down. The footprints on the ceiling of the tattoo parlor became the footprints of Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunters (tattooed Nephilim who fight demons-and look good doing it). The combination of the war and reality show became Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games (if you don't know what this is, read it).

Inspiration is all around us. It is up to us writers to listen to that inspiration, wherever we may be, and follow it. Our parents always yelled at us to get our head out of the clouds, but maybe that's exactly where they need to be. Well... At least some of the time.... ;o)

I leave you with a piece of my own inspiration..... Dream away!! :o)

So where does your inspiration come from? Do you make up stories about everything you see? (Or am I just crazy like that???)


  1. I love this post Janelle :) I feel the same, and I'm sure other writers can completely relate. When someone asks, "What inspires you to write?" I can hardly explain it. What DOESN'T inspire me would be easier to answer.

    And I REMEMBER when you, Tina and Wendy were tweeting this! I lurked *grins*

  2. LOL, I do a lot of brainstorming in the tub. But one of my main sources of inspiration has always been music. I see books scenes flowing along with the music as if it were a movie. In fact, I just came up with an awesome road chase scene to the song: "Jesus Built My Hot Rod" by Ministry. Good times.

  3. Head in the clouds??? --- most certainly. I am so glad I ignored my parents about that.

    Love the post. Inspiration comes from everywhere, but unlike a lot of people, I am baths and showers aren't very inspirational places for me. My mind tends to just wander randomly. I get inspired at odd moments, but if I am looking for inspiration on specific project - like brainstorming a plot for example, then the best thing is to just write. Pen and paper and things make sense.

  4. Love this! Oh I get ideas in the shower all the time. I also get it from tv, movies, reading. One of my main inspirational times is when I'm driving to and from work (an hour drive) I've come up with brilliant ones and ones that have gotten me out of a corner I was in writing-wise ;o)

    Awesome post!

  5. Love this post! I really loved learning about CC and SC and their inspirations!!

    My inspirations come mostly from my own experiences, as you know, and some from dreams or daydreams. Also, things I've read. I think that over time, this will develop further.

    Anyway, keep writing -- you rock!

  6. While I get inspiration in showers at times, I actually prefer *not* to. I'm quite forgetful, and I can't write anything down in the shower! My best inspiration-moments are when I walk, and I always have a notebook and a pen when that happens. :)

  7. I absolutely love this. Us writers dream up stories all the time from the tiniest of things.

    Driving along a freeway Stephen King saw a giant hole in the road from construction. He thought wow, that hole is so big you could fit a limousine in it. Then he wrote a short story of a man who's wife was killed by the mob's crossfire. He sought revenge. Became the limo driver to the mob boss and drove him into the hole then filled it with cement. So cool.

  8. Y'all need a pack of these: or at least a few strips of clear packing tape stuck to the wall and a couple of dry erase markers. Handy little buggers, those are!

  9. Great piece, Janelle. The kids around me tend to inspire me each day. They remind me of things I used to do and say long ago, before life got complicated.

    Erica and Claudie, hate when I get ideas in the shower--no pad, no pen, and soap in eyes--I almost lose them before I can dry off and write them down.

  10. I watch a movie, or look at pretty pictures. This is the best place: