Another week begins with an inspirational post by Jan Christensen.....
WHERE DO IDEAS COME
FROM? by Jan Christensen
published author will eventually be asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”
King has his “boys in the basement.” Riffing off of that, I have my aunts in
the attic. And sometimes the Mad Hatter. (And probably bells in my belfry, as
Banis has his muse Snotty. Other writers and artists have had muses throughout
muse is defined as: a spirit or source that inspires an artist. Some famous
writers, such as Hemingway, used real women as their muses, then married them.
Unfortunately, the muses often divorced the writers. I don’t know what that did
for the writing of the writers, but it couldn’t have been very good in the
short term. In the long run, it may have inspired a lot of writing, especially
about what women are like. Or what they thought women were like.
those who write both short stories and novels have different muses for each
length? Would there be any upside in doing that? I think there might be. The
short muse (of course short in stature) is direct, to the point, pithy,
impatient. The long muse (tall, of course) is wordy, slower to react, and
patient. Or perhaps one muse has a split personality.
me, besides joking about the aunts in the attic and the Mad Hatter, I don’t
really have any muses that I call on regularly. When muses are mentioned, I
think of the aunts and the Hatter, but otherwise, not very much.
you dig deeper into the idea of a muse as inspiration, you realize it is really
only a trigger. Or something to get angry with when the inspiration isn’t
order to really get ideas, I suggest more concrete tactics. To start, just pick
something, anything. Animal, mineral, vegetable. Rock, paper, scissors. Then
pick another and another. It would help if they are not usually associated with
each other. An animal with scissors, for example. Next write whatever comes to
mind for as long as you can. Eventually you most likely will get stuck and not
know what to write next. Ask yourself, what if, and list all the things that
could possibly happen next. Pick one, or combine some, and off you go again. It
can be weird, strange, unlikely, odd, whatever. Quirky is good.
ways are to visit places you’ve never been before, people watch at the mall,
look at pictures of strangers or even of people you know—one or two of their
traits might spark something.
trick is to absolutely believe that you will come up with something. If you
write steadily every day for about a month, this confidence will come more
easily. I’ve written so much that I never have any doubt that I can come up
with something, that really, I’ll never have enough time to write everything I
can think of into publishable form.
if you think having a muse will help, make one up or use a real person for
inspiration. If you just want to go right to the writing, pick a few fun things
to write about and Go.
Christensen lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, and has had nine novels and over
seventy short stories published. www.janchristensen.com