Dramaquill's All Things Writing

June 14, 2011

Inspiration can come from anywhere

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My mind is always going at warp speed.  I can be working on one project and suddenly, bam, another idea pops into my head.  I’ve never been one of those writers who struggle to come up with the next idea.

I’m lucky – and I’m probably in the minority.  But, it got me to thinking one day.  Why is it so easy for some writers to become inspired with a new project and so difficult for others?

I don’t know about other writers but I think, for me, it’s being aware of the details of my surroundings.  I’ll give you some examples…

I have pets – dogs.  I’ve used their antics to craft children’s poetry, stories and plays. 

I own a performing arts studio where I’m surrounded by students from age 3 to senior citizens. Working with such a diverse group of individuals really gives me insight into what interests and entertains the different age groups as well as great fodder for traits for my characters.

I live in a city of approximately 110,000.  There are so many wonderful places to just go and people watch.  My handy notebooks are filled with physical descriptions, mannerisms, and expressions.  It’s also very picturesque in my corner of the world and on the advice of a mentor, I decided to set my suspense novels in different locations near where I live.

Do you have kids?  Watch what makes them laugh…cry…angry.  What keeps them interested? 

Many writers get inspiration from the daily news headlines.  Current issues can provide inspiration for articles and different slants on hot topics.  Crime stories can jump start a mystery or thriller.

We all have a myriad of people pass through our lives on a regular basis.  They all have a lot to offer us if we take the time to look for something about them, or in their lives, that can jumpstart an idea.

Many writers enjoy online ezines, blogs and newsletters.  Often, ezines and newsletters will send a writing prompt.  Try freewriting the next time you read one and see where it takes you.

An online friend of mine exhibited a really unique way of showing inspiration can come from anywhere.  Recently, her neighborhood was hit with a tornado.  She not only used her experiences, and the experiences of those around her, as great material for her blog, but also to inspire her creative writing.  Now that’s someone definitely making lemonade, or in this case inspiration, out of a terrible situation.

Look around! 

Observe!

Record!

Inspiration truly can come from anywhere, anytime and from anyone.  Be open to inspiration.

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September 16, 2008

Writing Plays for kids – Look around, inspiration is everywhere.

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I love my job!  Part of what I do involves an aspect of writing that I thoroughly enjoy – writing plays for our drama department.  This means that during any given school year I’m likely creating 6-8 original scripts.

But after a while, coming up with new ideas that I know will appeal to our students can become a daunting task. 

So where do I turn for inspiration?

The kids, of course!

Just being around all the different ages of students who come through our doors can provide me with tons of new material.  Kids love to share and they have great stories from what they did on summer vacation to something that happened at school to their fears or their hopes and dreams.  That’s when I write a play about a subject they can relate to because it’s likely gone on in their world.

But the kids don’t always want to play kids.  They love to be creative and become something other than who they are and that’s when I turn to some other very accessible sources.

TV shows provide great fodder.  Reality TV is huge right now so writing a play about a type of “Survivor”, but with a twist, proved to be very successful with our intermediate class.  If the students know it from TV, they will relate to doing their version on the stage.

Who hasn’t read a great suspense novel or watched a mystery or ghost story movie?  Our teen class had a blast with a murder-mystery we wrote where one of the girls actually had to play twins and our juniors did a comical haunted house theme that had the audience mesmerized until the end.

Songs can also be a great source of inspiration.  I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with our littlest children in the “intro” class this semester and the song “Lollipop” just gave me a great idea.

We’ve all played board games.  Why not write a play where the kids are inside the game?

Hot topics of the day are also great choices, especially if you’re trying to write a play with a message that could be used to help kids deal with an issue, like bullying or self-esteem.

Look around!  Inspiration is everywhere – you just have to know where to look.

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