The Pixie of Inspiration is Everywhere

A little over a week ago Kristen Lamb talked about finding inspiration for your story in unlikely sources. It’s a wonderful piece about finding the spark in the everyday, ordinary places around us when you’re not looking for it. I suspect that has happened to you. It happens to all of us. But when we need it the most, we sometimes try to force it and in so doing we may cause barriers to go up and block the process. Has this happened to you lately?

I was going through a dark spot in my story. I didn’t know which way to go, left, right, forward or back. What I needed was to clear my head. So I step out, way out, with the family. We took a walk (hike) and communed with Mother Nature. It was the simplest thing that got my process rolling again. After being on the trail for an hour or more my youngest slipped her hand into mine ever so softly. She was sweet and gentle about it. Not her usual crazy self. That’s all it took. I had my idea.

Roughly what we were looking at when she slipped her hand in mine.

Sometimes you need to step out of your norm and walk away from your project. Let life happen. Experience it. Do it for the story, do it for yourself.

I have focused on inspiration a fair amount. Last week I brought the focus in on the story process. This Friday I will continue in that fashion… for the story.

Let me start with walks in nature and small unexpected things can get the ideas flowing. Anything that crosses your path could be a change in your story. {Plugs Inspiration post here} MUSIC. We hear that one a lot. Many writers have complete play lists for their stories. Check out Angela Orlowski-Peart’s list. I’m one of those with a list, although it wasn’t a song that sparked the original idea. No, it was spam. That’s right – internet spam. It popped up on my computer screen many years ago and a story was born. But I would let the story ferment in my head for many years until that one song brought the story’s end into focus. And that, as they say, is that. A story that lived only in my mind for years had to become tangible, written.

A short drive from the grocery store, a tune on the radio… …and six month later I had the rough draft to my first book. But as it would turn out, this ending is in the third book so, although I know how it starts and ends, I haven’t written it yet.

Music can be an amazing source of inspiration, as Coleen Patrick can tell you how it helped inspire her. Can you guess what her story is about? You can also use music to explore your characters and give each of them a theme. I did. Or search out particular moods and feelings to help move you along. I’ve trolled YouTube many nights in search of just the right sound. Emma Meade gives a nice selection of tunes to set the mood.

Reading, television and movies all add to your resource pot to pluck from. I love the visuals of movies and which movie ignites that spark depends on what I need at the moment. Where things stand now, my story has a lot going on. I’m drawn to action and suspense. This piece, for example, is especially alluring to me for its fighting moves, but also for Prince Nuana. He reminds me a lot of one of my characters. So cool are elves!

It may be hard to top Prince Nuana, but Alicia McKenna Johnson can help you find some badassness when you’re looking for it. There’s a world of videos waiting to be explored at the simple stroke of a computer key. And let’s not forget Google images! That’s one of my favorite stops. When you have something in mind you wish to pinpoint the look for, be it a character, a location, a mode of transportation, attire or anything else, type in your search and go looking. That’s how I came to find a face to put with the look I envisioned for my character Crystia. Roni Loren can tell you how it’s done if you’re not familiar.

There are many other forms of inspiration, some big, some extremely subtle. Can you think of some not mentioned here?


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22 thoughts on “The Pixie of Inspiration is Everywhere”

  1. Krystal WadeKrystal Wade

    I’ve said many times music is my muse, but I saw a mocking bird and crow fighting and came up with and idea. 😉

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Something like that could easily inspire me. I’m plowing my way through The Hunger Games right now. You just made me think of that. Want to go read now.

  2. Emma BurcartEmma Burcart

    I agree with all of those inspiring activities. I love taking walks outside when I feel like I need to move my body. And I always create a playlist of music that goes with each novel. But, only the first song is in English to set the scene for where the novel takes places. I can’t write with music in English or Spanish playing because then I will concentrate on the words. So, I have discovered some great French and Portugese music for writing to.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I love theatrical music – scores. No words at all. That’s great stuff right there. But the music just gets the muse started and then it needs to be turned off so that I can concentrate. Know what I mean? Foreign music is wonderful! I have no doubt what you listen to is beautiful and moving. Thanks for stopping in Emma. 🙂

  3. Louise BehielLouise Behiel

    I used to write to music – the same two cd’s for every book. i’d play them and be in the mood. Not so much anymore. i like the idea of a walk. i’m learning i hate finishing a book – i drag my feet like you wouldn’t believe. so I have to find a way around this –

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Hmm. Do you think you don’t want to leave your characters or is it the fear of facing a the public with your finished product? The unkown factor? What can the rest of us do to help you along Louise?

  4. August McLaughlinAugust McLaughlin

    Lovely post, Debra. I felt like I was with you on your hike! Nature definitely inspires me, too. It’s a great way to change shifts, particularly amidst hectic times. Sitting down to write also inspires me, as do talented bloggers like you. 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thank you, August, for saying so. I don’t feel very talented when it comes to blogging. I feel like I flail around a lot. LOL I’m sad little fish out of water. 🙁 Hahaha Maybe the fit will feel right someday.

  5. EmmaEmma

    Google images, that’s exactly what I need for my story! Thank Debra.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I love Google images. I’ve found so much inspiration there. Good luck!

  6. Karen McFarlandKaren McFarland

    I find that reading gives me inspiration. I’ll be reading something and an idea will pop out of my head. Crazy I know. But reading gets my creative process flowing. Thank you for the suggestions Debra! 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Reading is a great source of inspiration. You know what I hate though – I hate when I read something extremely similar to something I’ve already written and the first thing that pops in my mind is, “People will think I stole the idea from this.” I hate feeling that way. Especially when my stuff is already done and wasn’t influenced by anything other than my own real life experiences. It sometimes makes me not want to read anyone’s works, at least till mine is completely done. Horrible, I know.

  7. Molly PendleburyMolly Pendlebury

    That is a big time badass elf! I’m also very inspired by music, movies and television. They always have a huge impact on me. I hate when I hear a song or see a clip of something that made a huge impact to the point I’m thinking about it days later but, can’t remember enough about it to find the source. Too bad I don’t sing well enough for my “Shazam” app 😉 LOL Fun media post!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Have you considered carrying a small note book or inspiration journal with you to jot notes in? I have one I write music in all the time. I also have separate journals for each story I have going on in my head. It’s rather crowded in there. I have a great notebook idea I’ve been meaning to share for some time. I’ll need to do that soon.

  8. Marcy KennedyMarcy Kennedy

    This might sound crazy, but sometimes what I need is to sleep on it. I don’t believe dreams can be interpreted or anything like that, but I do believe that when we give our subconscious a chance to rest and work through things in its own way, we often find the solution we were looking for.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      That doesn’t sound crazy at all! Sleep is wonderful for the body and if we have been wracking our brains over an idea, sleep can sometimes be the best thing for it. Start fresh on a new day. Refer to August’s post from today. Sleep, healthy diet and proper exercise are all important to the process.

  9. Kristy K. James...Living, Loving, LaughingKristy K. James...Living, Loving, Laughing

    I often have the same problem as Louise…I don’t want to finish a story. With me it tends to be because I don’t want to say goodbye to the characters. In fact, Enza had been sitting on ice for about five years for that very reason.

    As for what inspires me, I wish I knew…it would make the whole process easier. But ideas just seem to come at me from out of nowhere. Occasionally it’s because of something I’ve seen, or a bit of conversation heard. Usually, though, I can’t pinpoint where the idea came from. But once it’s there, the ‘what-if’s’ take over.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Don’t think of it as saying goodbye. Think of it as, “Until next time.”  Allow yourself to believe you can always revisit them. They are your characters and your stories so there is no reason why you can’t should your muse decide it’s possible.

      I’ve had inspiration that appears to have grown out of nothing. I know it comes from somewhere; I just wasn’t paying attention to notice what at the time. It could be something so subtle it went unnoticed. That’s probably the same with you.

  10. Angela WallaceAngela Wallace

    There was this one store in the mall when I was younger–can’t remember the name of it–but it was one of those fantasy stores that had figurines, t-shirts, and actual swords. I’d take my little notebook into that store and browse the shelves, except I wasn’t looking to purchase anything; I was looking for story inspiration!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      That’s really smart of you Angela. I might have done the same had I known then I wanted to be a writer. I had stories and vivid dreams, but I was walking a very different path back then. More experiences to throw in my melting pot to draw from, I guess. :-/

  11. Ingrid SchaffenburgIngrid Schaffenburg

    Great post. And so true. You never know where we’ll find inspiration. So when we feel stuck the best thing we can do is shift gears into something completely different.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      That’s right. We always have other avenues open to us. We never truly hit a dead end. We simply must look harder to find the path. Thank you for stopping by Ingrid. 🙂

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