Driving around Inspiration Point

May 1st, 2008 • Kate

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.

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed Under: Ask Daphne!

Tags: , ,


9 Responses to “Driving around Inspiration Point”

  1. Rexroth Says:

    I maintain my assertion that "all ages" meant "all age brackets commonly associated with cheerleading", but recognize that a thirty-something soccer mom misreading that (purposely or by accident) is a very fun idea.

  2. Chiron O'Keefe Says:

    I love the idea for a housewife/mom turned cheerleader. *laughs*
    If I wasn't knee-deep in a story I'd be tempted to switch over.
    *snort*
    –Chiron

  3. Chiron O'Keefe Says:

    I love the idea for a housewife/mom turned cheerleader. *laughs*
    If I wasn't knee-deep in a story I'd be tempted to switch over.
    *snort*
    –Chiron

  4. Chiron O'Keefe Says:

    I love the idea for a housewife/mom turned cheerleader. *laughs*
    If I wasn't knee-deep in a story I'd be tempted to switch over.
    *snort*
    –Chiron

  5. Chiron O'Keefe Says:

    I love the idea for a housewife/mom turned cheerleader. *laughs*
    If I wasn't knee-deep in a story I'd be tempted to switch over.
    *snort*
    –Chiron

  6. Chiron O'Keefe Says:

    I love the idea for a housewife/mom turned cheerleader. *laughs*
    If I wasn't knee-deep in a story I'd be tempted to switch over.
    *snort*
    –Chiron

  7. beth Says:

    Have you ever been tempted to write out those inspiration-turned-story-ideas yourself? That's something I've always been curious about….how can an agent keep from writing herself?
    As for inspiration, I totally agree with writing it down ASAP. There have been SO many times that I thought of an idea late at night, figured I'd write it out in the morning, and then woke up with just the memory that I had had a good idea…but not what it was 🙁

  8. Caryn Says:

    I'm pretty good about writing down those inspirations, but sometimes by the time I come back to them I have no idea where I was going with the snippet. It can be quite entertaining at times.
    So you're making up plots. Do I sense another agent-turned-author in the making? Or is it just a job hazard?
    Oh, and sorry to hear about the snow. One reason why I moved from Colorado, much as I loved it. (Getting married was another reason.)

  9. Julia Says:

    Keeping pen and paper on the bedside table is very important for me – however, I've written ideas when only half-awake & the problem next morning isn't remembering them based on the note – it's that I can't read the note! I've also been known to call myself and leave a voice message (I dare not try to text while I'm driving & lots of ideas come to me when I'm behind the wheel.)
    My inspiration has come from dreams, from newspaper/internet articles on varying subjects (particularly science articles), from seeing a person who is so interesting-looking that there just has to be a story surrounding them and about a million other places! Right now, my biggest problem is finding time to write all these stories.
    And, yeah… the snow. That was a big reason (among others) that I moved from CO.