Where do writers get their inspiration? It’s a question I’m often asked and I ask myself every day. Each morning, I wake up to a running thought-commentary of a million ideas for a new book. I begin erasing each one methodically, as I stir my coffee or pour out breakfast cereal. That’s a process that helps me sort out the wheat from the chaff and eventually, (it takes time) decide on a plot line, based on the chosen idea. If it sounds complicated, it is.
There is no quick fix when it comes to writing a book. I remember thinking I would never be able to read a complete book. I was about seven at the time and had just started to put words in order and follow a page or two of my Janet and John book – yes, that’s how old I am! Writing a book can be like that early stumbling attempt at making sense of words, turning them into a story you and other people will understand and want to read. And along the way, there are pitfalls, hundreds of them.
I was never very good at grammar or punctuation. It’s a slog to get it right, especially when you are an independent author and have to do the editing of your work by yourself. But, it gets easier. However, I am still at the stage of describing myself as a novice writer, probably because of my fears about getting grammar and punctuation horribly wrong. Although I have published four novels, I am only just beginning to understand the writing process and I know that learning any craft takes time. The hard work, the frustrations and tears will all be worth it when I get a review that tells me I have written something worthwhile and my readers have enjoyed it. I am thankful for publishers like Feedaread, who give new writers like me the platform to try out my skill and see my words in paperback, hardback or on Kindle.
Another good way to find inspiration is to walk through the countryside in the early morning. The beauty of nature waking up, as the sun rises, accompanied by the incredible bird orchestra, is like opening a door to a room in my mind where the stories live. Those early morning strolls with my dog leave me raring to go, though there has to be coffee first!
I’m at my desk, the window wide open in summer, the radiator blaring in the winter, hands poised over the keyboard, computer glasses on, coffee at my elbow…waiting. For what, you ask? For the bloody inspiration! Sometimes, it’s right there, ready to spew up and mould into a coherent first chapter. Often, it’s not. The germ of an idea, the title, a couple of characters, a structure for chapter one is at the tip of my fingers – and that’s where it stays, until something turns on the tap.
Is it time to get up, walk around, go for another walk? No, you lazy beezum, get on with it! Once I’ve given myself a good talking to, I settle down again to write. What will I achieve by lunch time? Four rewrites of chapter one? Several trips to the loo? Another three cups of coffee? A cuddle with my dog? All of them. Then…
I can hear a noise and smell something wonderful. My neighbour is out there, mowing his lawn. The scent of grass wafts into the room and lands up my nose. A breeze sends several blades of grass through the window. They flutter to the floor. A ladybird clings to one of them. A single blade lands on the sill, wriggling in the gently moving air, bright green, long, pointed and exquisite. I pick it up and lay it in the palm of my left hand. It’s an intricate, amazing piece of brilliance that has evolved, all by itself, over millions of years. Who the hell do I think I am, making a fuss about creating a piece of writing!
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