Daily Inspirations (IWSG May)

It’s Mother’s Day in Australia soon. I have decided that I may treat myself to a mug or t-shirt with the following quote printed on it. Possibly also including a large ‘WARNING’ tag. Something like this might be a useful deterrent against interruption… or maybe a conversation-starter for interesting material. Either way, it’s one of my favourite humorous sayings about writing.

Kids, if you’re reading this, consider it a hint.

“I am a writer. Anything you say or do may be used in a story.” Image from a notebook featuring this design. Quote origin unknown.

It’s just another weekday in the long, grey-carpeted cafeteria, odours of chicken curry and hot chips mingling with coffee, laundry powder, and the musky sweetness of rain. It’s pouring outside, as if monsoon season has migrated south for the week. People in camouflage uniforms and road-weary black boots meander through the cafe, some taking seats to gossip, others wolfing down a meal before their watch begins, still others chatting openly about ship events, personnel quandaries, or upcoming deployments.

In their midst, a writer.

Masquerading as a visitor, she is listening. Observing body language, group composition; tuning in to overlapping conversations; tasting the emotional temperature of the room. Committing it all to memory, whether for future use or to be forgotten on a distant brain-shelf. But still stored there, like a snow globe set aside for another rainy day in which, looking for inspiration, she might take out a selection of globes and study them. Blow off the dust, turn them this way and that in the light. Searching for the interesting tidbits, the glimmer of a story, a setting, a character.

A string to tug, to see where it leads…

Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop logo

This is all to say, it’s been another month in our orbit around the sun. And this month in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, we are talking about what inspires us with our writing. Thank you, as always, to our host Alex J Cavanaugh and co-hosts Joylene Nowell Butler, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Meka James, Diane Burton, Victoria Marie Lees, and M Louise Barbour.

What is happening with you all? I have been navigating the fun of US Tax Forms while signing up for Draft2Digital. (OK, not fun. And Draft2Digital has a bit of a learning curve. But I am looking forward to sharing my latest short story, to be published overseas in a multi-author sci-fi horror anthology soon to be announced! I’m a bit darn excited about this project. More to come. ^_^)

Now, onto this month’s question officially.

When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

For me, I take inspiration from dreams, from the amalgamated works of others’ I have consumed, and from experiences and observations throughout my life so far.

Hand open beneath a naked lightbulb that is glowing

For example, I’m currently working on a new short story with a neurodivergent main character. Now that I am 1yr+ diagnosed as ND, I’m becoming more and more able to express my identity and examine the way I think compared to others. It’s really fun to stretch that, to apply certain thought patterns and processes to my characters and see what happens. I also feel more confident identifying such interpretations and owning the lived experiences that have influenced such stories.

This has itself led to better understanding about the tricky topics of appropriation and authenticity. And though it hasn’t stopped me making everything from extrapolations to complete fabrications from moments and events I’ve observed as an outsider, I am trying to be more sensitive and have awareness about what I’m writing – and why.

I do like to write without first ‘searching’ for inspiration. I prefer to let it come and later figure out where the inspiration may have come from. It feels more organic that way. Plus, inspiration is not something that is always easy to find! Writers way better and wiser than me have said (and I apologise for any misquote), You cannot wait for inspiration to write. You have to sit and work at it whether inspiration is present or not.

I do find that if I set out to research a topic or idea, I often get super sidetracked, hyperfocused on the topic to the point of multi-hour procrastination and unfinished notes. Alternatively, I might feel somehow that my mind has ‘over-researched’ and become too saturated to produce anything novel.

A balance is preferred.

And I really have to remember my own advice, especially when I’m in a slump. Inspiration is present all around me, every day. Listen, read, observe, and then just write.

Next time you see someone tapping away in a cafe, just think: you could be their next character!…

How about you? Where does your inspiration come from? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Also, Happy Mother’s Day to any and all maternal figures in your lives. I hope you and they are appreciated this month for the fantastic people that you are, raising or having raised or planning to raise humans in this sometimes difficult, always amazing world. May you find a moment of joy, appreciation, and love, in whatever direction that may be.

IWSG Blog hop link: Sign Up or Check Out Other IWSGers

Tabby cat’s face with blanket behind it, cat is wearing a child’s crown
Loki says hello

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