Driving around Inspiration Point

It is May 1st, and it’s snowing, of course, so why wouldn’t I choose this day to try to get some important errands done? But driving around this morning in the snow got me thinking about inspiration, and how it truly can come from just about anywhere (and it’s usually not sign-posted).
Then again, sometimes it is! I was in the car the other day with Rexroth and passed a small road sign, barely above the level of my window, that read “Elite Cheerleaders Wanted — All Ages”, followed by some details about auditions. Well, my little mind just went to town. Combine that with the song “1985” that I’d recently heard on my iPod, and a novel burst into my head almost fully formed, about a housewife/mom who misses her heyday of high school cheerleading, sees such a similar sign, and makes the team, leading them to championships. It’s like “Bring It On” meets “Desperate Housewives.” Or something. (First person who writes up said story and queries me gets an automatic request for a full!)
Inspiration can strike anywhere, whether it’s something you’re watching on tv (did anyone else catch “High School Confidential? So heartbreaking at times!), something you see out of the corner of your eye, something you read that pulls you to consider a topic in a different way, or something that just comes to you in the middle of the night with a “Eureka!” moment. But that’s not all you need. Once that inspiration strikes, you still need to DO something about it. Write your idea down, first of all. If you don’t have a pen and paper, text yourself your idea! Don’t just count on being able to remember it later (a nod to Arthur A. Levine’s keynote at this weekend’s SCBWI conference outside Seattle). Push through a first draft, when it seems like inspiration was so long ago, and all you have now is perspiration. Keep going. Revise, revise, revise.
Put it in a drawer for a few weeks/months/ages if you have to, until you can pull it out again, read it, and feel that inspirational tug once more.

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