Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas From?

Where do authors get their ideas from

Finding regular inspiration is a critical need for any writer. I’ve always been intrigued by what inspires a particular story, i.e. the ‘backstory’ that leads to the creation of a great novel. ‘Mad Mischief’ itself was inspired by my own journey through Africa. I recently stumbled upon a site which actually lists out the inspirations behind 50 different authors and their work; here are a few of my favorite. Perhaps it will inspire YOUR own story!

1. Haruki Murakami; Inspirational Activity: Get into a strict routine and exercise

When he’s writing a novel, Haruki Murakami gets up every morning at 4 am, works for five or six hours, runs 10 kilometers or swims 1500 meters (or both), reads for the rest of the day, and then goes to bed promptly at 9 pm. He holds this routine for six months to a year, using this repetition as mesmerism to stay inspired. (“I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”)

2. Nicholson Baker; Inspirational Activity: Set deadlines

Nicholson Baker set a mental deadline for himself to finish writing a novel: Age 30. When he didn’t meet this goal, he became inspired to write The Mezzanine by quitting his job and spending every day writing “as hard as I’ve ever written” for 6 months.

3. Paul Rome; Inspirational Activity: Move somewhere new

After high school, Paul Rome moved to New York City, which he says “[awakened] my senses” and “[stirred] up all these feelings that were inside of me.” Then, he projected himself onto his character for We All Sleep in the Same Room because of his anxieties about growing up and living in New York after graduating NYU.

4. Junot Diaz; Inspirational Activity: Keep an inspirational journal

Junot Diaz keeps a folder of any inspirational thing he encounters (ex. a black and white picture of his father in a fascist uniform, newspaper clippings, notebooks from the writing processes of his prevous books, mementos from previous points in his life, etc.). The picture of his father was Diaz’s main inspiration for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

5. Raymond Carver; Inspirational Activity: Embellish your own life

Raymond Carver believes, like many writers, that all writing is autobiographical. “You’re told time and again when you’re young to write about what you know, and what do you know better than your own secrets?” He mentions to not take this totally literally, of course, but just to the extent that an inkling of whatever you’re writing is drawn from your own life. “A little autobiography and a lot of imagination are best.”

6. Judy Blume; Inspirational Activity: Go people-watching and imagine their lives

Judy Blume, a self-proclaimed “people person,” has enough imagination to take in details while people-watching and come up with what’s missing. She says, “Ideas come from everywhere–they come from what you see and hear and imagine. My husband says I have too much imagination, but I don’t think a writer can have too much imagination!”

Excerpted from: https://thejohnfox.com/2016/06/writing-inspiration/