Anyone who’s a writer has struggled to find inspiration to write. Books and articles are written about inspiration. I myself have searched the internet and the shelves of Barnes & Noble and my public library for books that contain writing prompts and advice about fostering inspiration. Certainly aspiring writers should seek the advice of veteran
writers who have given generously of their wisdom and time to mentor others,
but what we authors-to-be must realize is that story ideas truly are all around us.
Alison Radley is a writer living in West Yorkshire, England. Her blog, Radley Rants:Ramblings from an ordinary life, is a perfect example of a writer finding inspiration in everyday things. In a recent post, Radley writes about relying
on her mother to help her rescue some neglected clothing. The simple, everyday
act of cleaning out her closet resulted in Radley’s reflection on “Why mothers are important.” My favorite post – so far – is about her bus ride to work. In “Shoes hold the key to the answer,” she is continuously bothered by a “nutter” on the bus, and insightfully and succinctly reflects that, “For some reason, people who do not read seem to think that they can hold a conversation with someone who is blatantly keeping themselves to themselves and do not wish to engage.” How many times has this happened to you? In other posts Radley laments at the difficulty in obtaining an urgent dentist appointment for an agonizing toothache, plans her future for her ultimate demise, analyzes and tests her horoscope, and…well…rants about every day annoyances. The point is Radley’s blog makes the reader realize that our lives and interactions and conversations with strangers are fruit for the writer’s harvest.
Radley makes clever observations that many of us may overlook; observations that very well could lead to that story we’ve been meaning to write. Many of us commute to work, or faithfully read our daily horoscope, or update our will and buy life insurance, or rip out our hair while talking in circles with the dentist’s receptionist who doesn’t quite understand the concept of “emergency.” Any of these and other events in our lives could hold the seed of a story or article or novel.
For this reason, many “how to write…” books advise writers to keep a journal or notebook and jot down ideas as they occur to you. However, in order to jot them down, you need to be able to recognize when an idea is presenting itself to you. These seeds are not always as large as walnuts that drop from a tree and land on your head. Sometimes they are subtle and work their way into your consciousness much like that same walnut that manages to germinate and is not noticed until you have to mow around it! So, the next time life drives you to the edge of insanity, pause and listen carefully for the whispering voice that’s trying to get your attention. Inspiration is found in everyday things.