Inspiration can be a fickle thing for me. Sometimes, I have a flood of thoughts and imagery about a particular character, scene, or story. At other points, it’s difficult to find the words to describe a simple attribute. I suspect many authors have similar struggles.
One of the things I’ve found that helps me find inspiration and insight is life experience. Going to wild places gives me the imagery to describe them in my writing. Immersing myself in a city allows me to convey those places and the feelings they engender to others. Experiencing the loss of a loved one has made it possible to get inside a character’s head and accurately portray their grief over a similar situation. The more life I live, the more equipped I feel to create a believable, meaningful story.
Over the course of my year and a half living in a Honda Odyssey with my wife, we had many valuable experiences that I still draw on for inspiration. It was difficult to have the discipline to write during that time, but I think it improved my craft despite that. Now that we are living permanently (for awhile at least) in Bozeman, MT, I will continue to seek out the people, places, and adventure that color my writing.
If you have the right perspective, any event in your life can be a form of inspiration. Sometimes it takes having a detached, “watcher” kind of perspective, but I’ve always been inclined towards that, so it doesn’t take much effort.
As a funny side note, I often have a voice called “The Narrator” in my head, describing my own life in terms of a story. It isn’t always comfortable, but it can be helpful! Sometimes, The Narrator even describes my own death (usually while rock climbing). Thankfully, his predictions of doom have yet to materialize. 🙂
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