Saturday, May 16, 2009

Where Do You Get Your Ideas? Your Inspirations?

"I keep little notepads all over the place to write down ideas as soon as they strike, but the ones that fill up the quickest are always the ones at my nightstand." Emily Logan Decens

"A notepad by the bedside accounts for half the earnings of my livelihood. If it weren't for bedtime, half my novels would still be stuck at dock." Ever Garrison

Like the quotes above I try to keep a notepad on my nightstand.
Many times I've gone to bed and a thought or idea came to me.
Many times I've thought "Oh, I'll remember that when I wake up and write it down."
But the thought, upon awakening had dissolved and disappeared into the woodwork.

I suggest if an idea comes to you, and you don't have that notepad by your side, get up and go get one and write it down. It may be just the thought that opens the dam, the thought that ends writer's block or the thought that makes that page you've been working on sparkle and shine.

I tell you this from experience. Keep a notepad by your bed, in the car, in your purse. Keep a piece of paper in your pocket when you go for a walk. That idea you scribble down may just be the beginning of your next book or story.

My favorite book I've written came from a writer's prompt.

The prompt was to open the book you are currently reading and use the first sentence of the book and start writing a story.
I wasn't currently reading a book, but I looked around me and on the floor near my desk was Christy by Catherine Marshall. The story starts with this sentence . . . Only my father saw me to the Asheville station that Sunday morning in 1912.

I cheated a little, I changed the sentence slightly and wrote. . . Only my parents watched me get married that Saturday afternoon in 1908. It was the beginning of my book Lucy of Tuppers Hollow. The story is loosely based on my grandparents who married in 1908. It is a very descriptive story about the life of a young married couple at the turn of the century in rural Appalachia. I've labeled it as a MG, but I think YA would be a more suitable category, since the main character, Lucy, is 17.

I am so glad I wrote this story, even if it doesn't ever get published. It is, in my imagination, what life may have been like for my grandparents. It is filled with everyday chores, superstitions, and the simplicity and hardships of that era.

Where do you get your ideas and inspirations to write? Do you keep a note pad by your nightstand? Have you been inspired by a favorite book to write a story? Have you ever used writer's prompts?

What do you do to get the creative juices flowing? Your comments could help someone.


  1. Janet,

    I would love to read Lucy of Tupper's Hollow. Those type of stories appeal to me and what a great suggestion about opening the book you are writing and using the first sentence to write a story. I don't often read books more than once, but Christy is one that I've read several times and will probably read again.

    Enjoyed my visit. I hope you have a great weekend.


  2. Oh, how romantic! I sure hope it is published, because I will buy it. As for ideas, I have journals full of them. I'm like you, - my ideas come when I'm driving, when I'm doing the dishes, etc... if I didn't have somewhere to write them down, I'd never remember them.

  3. Janet,
    I love your opening line to Lucy of Tupper's Hollow. Pulls you right in!
    Have you finished the book?
    Sheryl (o;

  4. Hi,
    I'd like to read Lucy of Tupper's Hollow too! That's a great idea of using the 1st line. I was doing contests that gave you a sentence for the 1rst line & I loved it. My imagination would just take off! I have to get back into the contests. I love the idea of jotting ideas down. I have to get some more little notebooks since I'm never near paper when an idea hits.

  5. Sounds like a wonderful story. I hope it gets published. Sounds YA. I write picture books, too. I have 5 completely finished. I'm almost done with my middle grade adventure.

    My mom was from West Virginia. Pond Run. Know of it?

    Thanks for visiting my blog. :)


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