I’ve been thinking about Dr. Tanya’s Blogging Insights question from May 31: Do real life events and real people inspire your blog posts, and how? I find it interesting to think about what inspires my writing, as I usually just assume a hodgepodge of thoughts come together like a pile of twigs waiting for a spark to light them into flame. But it’s actually useful to consider inspo in more detail…
For my poetry blog posts (and poetry in general), I would say that almost always they are inspired by real life events and real people, no matter how fantastical they seem. Sometimes it’s just a fragment of an overheard sentence that stays with me. Other times it’s an intensely emotional event, such as a hurtful breakup I experienced several years ago, which clamors for documentation. Mostly, I do not write poetry to recount an event word for word like a news report; instead, I focus on a feeling and go from there. Occasionally, an actual situation lends itself to retelling (such as when I wrote about receiving emails for other Paula Lights), but generally not so much. Real life is usually too mundane to make for enjoyable poetry writing experiences.
Fiction writing is a different thing entirely and harder to pin down. What inspires it? Could be anything really, but in general not a real life event. Sometimes I’ll be reading or watching something fictional and my imagination will spin off into a new direction with dialog forming in my mind. Other times I’ll come up with a title or a first line I think is super clever, and I’ll try to fluff that into an entire plot line. For Switching Positions, I was inspired by the idea of a woman who supported Pete B in the Democratic primary meeting a man who supported… the other side. That story was so much fun to write, and credit goes to a friend who told me I must write it after I described my meet-cute at a wine cave fundraiser idea. Writing a whole book is hard, yo! It requires a lot of time and dedication. I’ve done it, and I will do it again, but it takes a toll emotionally. Of course, as all writers understand, it’s more traumatic NOT to write when the bug bites you. Somehow, you make the time and space for it.
What’s funny about my romance writing is that people always assume I’ve based the main character on myself. Um no. I would not behave like any of my female protagonists! I wonder if Stephen King gets those kind of questions on his writing. Or Dean Koontz. Or Kazuo Ishiguro…
Image from Peanuts.
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