Sunday, July 12, 2009

What inspires you?

I figured I should take a month or two break from writing books. Writing, as I've said, can be a joy but it can also be the worst tension headache you could ever imagine. I think Johnny Depp said it best in a featurette on how he was playing his character Mort Rainey in Secret Window, "It's man versus paper. The most beneficial thing for a writer is imagination but it's also the thing that can work against him. You end up being plagued by too much thought. But I guess that's your bread and butter though, isn't it?"

So true.

But for today, briefly, I want to ask you, the readers, what does it take to inspire you?

With me, it can be a multitude of things.

  1. It could be the classic "what if?" scenerio. "What if a doctor came back from the dead and was trapped inside his own hospital? What would he do?" Presto! Mr. Dead Eyes was born.
  2. Some ideas I get from the news (Online, television, newspaper), which have very rich and TRUE material.
  3. From sights. I was driving past the Old Joliet Prison on my way back from my second job on Friday at 11pm and the sight was so creepy, it has inspired me to write a short story set in a prison.
  4. Of course there is music too. Lots of bands inspire me to write: Evanescence, Greenday, My Chemical Romance, All American Rejects, Smashmouth, The Killers and some golden oldies just to name a few.
  5. Just recently, while working at my first job, I stumbled across a small photograph of a painting by Vincent Van Gogh. I picked it up and stared at it for five minutes before returning to work, entranced by it's subtlties and vibrant colors. I'm not much of an art fan but I might've picked it up from reading Eliso Lorello's Faking It. (Quick plug. ha ha.) The painting was called starry night, you can see it below. I've put it up as my background on my laptop to help me think when I write.

So, my question to you is, what inspires you as a writer? Is it one thing or many? Your answers can be as lengthy as you want. There are no wrong answers. Just curious.

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." ~Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan)


Alissa said...

Anything and everything. Thoughts come to me when I am doing something else: brushing my teeth, walking the dog. Some of them are ideas that never go anywhere, but every once in awhile there is a thought that won't go away and that becomes a story or the start of a novel or something that gets jotted down in my notebook full of ideas.

Elisa said...

Any number of things inspire me. Like you, it could be the what-if question. When my writing partner and I chat, our conversations almost always inspire a few pages.

Other writers inspire me as well. After reading the first chapter of a novel, I wanted to go back and re-write the first chapt of my current manuscript. Watching shows like *The West Wing* and *Boston Legal* always inspire me.

And then, sometimes it's the simple pleasures.

Uninvoked said...

I just wanted to say that this post seriously inspired me. When I started posting my noveling blog, Uninvoked, it was purely for the hope of gaining readership. The interest its original wordpress site generated was strong enough to make me think of the potential the self publishing route could take.

Now Uninvoked has its own domain, and while I need serious help getting the word out, its recovering from the move nicely. I love my new layout, love the chance to edit once again the chapters that go up, and while I'm not the greatest artist in the world, having a chance to put some illustrations up offers some satisfaction too.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to see someone else trying a similar route, and it working for them. With any luck, Uninvoked will enjoy the same success.

Rob said...


I think your story will find success. Take a look at David Wellington. He blogged his serial novels just like you're doing and he got signed with Harper Collins. So keep writing and hope to read more.