The question of where inspiration comes from has been asked of me, and by me many times since I decided I wanted to be a journalist at seven.
Writers I admire were recently asked the same question at the Festival of Golden Words in Beaconsfield and their answers confirmed what I’ve always thought – inspiration is everywhere!
Bay of Fires author Poppy Gee commented that inspiration to her was like drawing on “scraps from many cupboards”, which I understand. Watching people, hearing snippets of conversation or even smelling a certain scent can evoke a series of ideas for me. I even created an entire personality around a man I followed to the bus stop one morning simply based on the click his shoes made as he walked.
But it was Heather Rose, author of White Heart and The River Wife, whose words struck me as most profound: “novel writing is like psychic engineering because you pick up pieces everywhere”. I think this describes the inspiration process for writing perfectly. There are times when my ideas are very clearly formulated in my mind, based on an interview or research. Other times the idea appears in my mind, perfectly formed and ripe to capture in words.
I also agreed with Kate Gordon who uses recognisable characters in her novels, like the upcoming Writing Clementine, because she believes “it’s important for readers to see people they know in what they’re reading”.
For me this was the best from a list of exceptional sessions at the festival. I tweeted throughout the other sessions and collated these thoughts on Storify if you want to see what else struck a chord with me over the weekend.
So, what inspires you?