July 18, 2012

WANTED: Inspiration

Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. 

This week's topic:
When you need creative inspiration, where do you go?

I go to the most inconvenient place possible where I have no access to pen or paper when the ideas start flowing. Haha. ☺

Kidding. Here's my real answer:

1.  Nose In a Book
There are few things like reading in the same genre to find inspiration for your own writing. It sets the tone for  what you're working on, and can even eliminate distraction. I think this is important when you have multiple projects on the go. My main WiP is YA sci-fi, but I've also been sporadically working on a YA contemporary romance. When I'm focusing on the sci-fi, I sometimes find it difficult to read contemporaries because then I start feeling the pull of that other WiP. 

2.  iTune Out
Music is an important part of my creative process. The right tune and/or lyrics can really inspire me. Sometimes I set out looking for fitting music, but more often than not I stumble across songs that really work with what I'm writing. Other times it's almost eerily timed. Just the other day I was working on revising a scene in my WiP and Pearl Jam's Just Breathe popped up on my iTunes playlist. It actually gave me chills when I realized just how perfectly it fit with the scene.

3.  I Google Pinterventions
I love looking for images that reflect some aspect of my story. Most often I head over to Google Images and plunk in some WiP-related search term and see what pops up. Pinterest can be very useful this way too, but we all know that it's a bit of a timesuck vortex too. I usually only head over there when I have time to kill. I like to put some of what I find up on my wall above my desk too.

4.  Hop On the Infobahn
Research, especially in the planning stages, is like my own personal brand of heroin (bahaha!). The internet makes this really easy and also really time-consuming. I'll sometimes waste hours just researching one particular thing for my story. But, this information and inspiration is irreplaceable and my story will be a whole lot better for it. It's amazing how this can lead to things I hadn't planned on, but that add so much more depth to my original idea.

5.  Silver Screen Stimulus
Working on a sci-fi story means that lately I can't get enough of sci-fi movies. It's great to see how they've approached these future worlds—advanced technology, altered forms of government, batshiz forms of fashion—and it gets me thinking in terms of these things as well. Sometimes what I see comes a little too close for comfort (Crap! That's like ___________ in my WiP!), but generally it's more of a positive experience.

6.  Out of the Blue
When I least expect it, when I'm not even thinking about writing, really great ideas will just pop into my head.  And before I know it, these little kernels are popping all over the place. The other day I was looking at something on Goodreads, and a single word jumped out that inspired an entire story for me. Bam! Just like that. I jotted down some notes and filed it away for later, but I'm kind of excited about where that might lead.

How about you? Where do you find inspiration?

24 comments:

  1. Oh, I totally agree with you on the research! Although, sometimes I tend to get totally off track and go on a tangent research journey :)

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    1. I have the same problem. I follow all of the little bunny trails that research introduces and hours later I wonder where all the time went. Whoops! :D

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  2. Love your subtitles, well thought of! iTune out is the best one lol
    I agree with them all, though I hate research. So I switch our research for my history reading, deal? ;)

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    1. That one's my favourite too. :) I like research, but I'm not a big fan of all the time it ends up sucking up. If I could just pop on the internet briefly, find what I'm looking for, and get the heck away from it again, I'd be happy. Too often that's not the case, though. O_o

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  3. Okay, so you're talking about sci-fi, and your WiP, and watching more sci-fi. I have just two words for you, Jaime: DOCTOR WHO! Have you, yet? Hmmm? HMMMM? Do I need to come over there with my season sets? Do I? :D

    Where do my ideas come from? I discussed sleep-induced inspiration on my blog, but I would also say that, while I can nod at most of your list, the last is probably the one from your list that relates most to me. And that kind of fits with my answer, since it can be while drifting off to sleep that BAM--the idea hits. Unprovoked. Unexpected. But not unwelcome. :)

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    1. Yeah, I know (*hangs head shamefully*). I've also been on a steampunk kick lately and actually had LEVIATHAN in my hand...but I read something else. Sorry... :D

      I think my best ideas come to me unprovoked. The idea for my sci-fi WiP came from a newspaper headline, and that led to all kinds of further ideas.

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  4. I totally feel the same way. And I second Colin with DOCTOR WHO!!!! <3 I also love rewatchig my favorite movies and re-read my fave books to get inspiration. Or sometimes I just re-read comments that people have said about my writing - even if it is funny or good.... My ideas come from everywhere. It's so hard to narrow it down. Great post, Jaime. :)

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    1. Ahhh! All these Who fans crowding in on me. :) I really do need to get around to watching it, though. My ideas kind of come from all over the place too, not just this list.

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  5. I wish I had your self discipline on pinterest. I had to stop getting on that site because I'd go crazy and pin for hours!!

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    1. Oh, there was a time that I would waste disgusting amounts of time on Pinterest. I have noticed a lot of people starting boards for their WiPs, and I think that might be something I want to do. Though I am wary of that timesuck. :)

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  6. I'm going to have to try my hand in at Pintrest. I've been thinking about starting board for my characters but just never did. Great post
    Thanks for sharing

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    1. I think that's something I'd like to do too—start boards for my WiPs. What a great way to use Pinterest. :)

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  7. Music is definitely one of my biggest inspirations. Songs just turn into scenes in my head, and, like you said, always when there's no pen and paper handy. Or, worse, paper but NOTHING to write with!

    Or, you know, I'm zooming down the interstate and can't write.

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    1. I'm so glad I'm not one of those people who can't write with music. What would I do without all of that inspiration?! :D

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  8. Definitely yes to all of those, although lyrical music motivates me more than inspires me (but instrumental music has spawned some great ideas). I LOVE article-hopping on Wiki. So addicting--and a great source of inspiration.

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    1. I can definitely see how instrumental music would inspire ideas. I have some favourite soundtracks that I love to put on while I'm writing and just whenever. Some of them are just so powerful! :)

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  9. I'm going to back up the Doctor Who comments above - sorry, but us Whovians are a little obsessed! :) And I also agree that just cruising the internet, Pinterest or Google images is a great way to pick up ideas. But, I really can't trust myself to go there! I get side-tracked waaaayyyy too easily. :(

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  10. Some great ideas to get... well, ideas... here. Love the first one though - being somewhere impossible to do anything about it makes inspiration certain for me!
    =)

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  11. I loved yours! I share a couple too. 1, 2 and 5, specifically. I've had ideas hit me in inconvenient places too - like in the shower or just when I'm about to drift off to sleep!

    Definitely reading gets me thinking of my own stories. The worst for that are books that I can't quite lose myself in but that remind me that I should be writing so that MY book can soon be in someone's eager little hands.

    Also, talking to someone about my writing can jump-start me into wanting to write it.

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  12. Great list of inspiration. Reading and music can be very inspirational. I love when I'm reading a really good book and it motivates me to write.

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  13. yessss, sci-fi movies <3 the brilliant ones like district 9 or children of men always get me thinking. and the internet can be helpful, though for me it hinders as often as it helps the inspiration.... course that could just be because of the lure of facebook ;)

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  14. Awesome answers! I also turn to books or TV shows (with good plots)!!

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  15. I love browsing through images for inspiration as well! Oh, and can I say the picture you chose for this post is just gorgeous?

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  16. Great answers, Jaime! I'm a Pinterest fan too, and I also love to listen to music when I'm in need of inspiration. Oddly, I get some of my best ideas and hop my biggest hurdles when I'm running. Something about being outside (alone) clears my head and lets me focus on my WiP.

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