Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit again soon.

Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Writing inspiration

There I was, sitting down with a steaming mug of hot chocolate, my new A4 cheap, lined writing pad open, Red Nose Day pen in my hand, thinking about what I could write about,and it happened; it started to snow! And it hit me - a wintery short story idea landed with a wallop in my lap. And I wrote a 1,500 short story in one go.

Now this doesn't happen to me often, usually I have pull the ideas out of my head with several long tugs. But I noticed it happened a lot whilst I was on the writers' retreat. I wonder if it has something to do with relaxing and just letting the words flow and getting it down on paper. It's like I have to get it down and can't stop until at least the bare bones of the story are there in black and white.

I find that ordinary everyday situations and things can provide me with great characters or story lines. I always take a small note book and pen with me wherever I go. I never know when inspiration is going to strike me. I have about six A5 sized notebooks in my cupboard with ideas and bits of pieces of writing advice crammed into them that I haven't had the chance to go back through yet, plus I have smaller notebooks by my bed and in my handbag that I will go back to eventually.

I sometimes take my camera out and snap things that interest me: A dilapidated building, an interesting old rusted iron gate, streets, trees, flowers, the pool by my house, wildlife, anything that I might be able to use in a story later. I'm nosy and I unashamedly (but discreetly!) listen in to conversations to pick up how different people speak, what their facial expressions are like, what they're wearing, how they walk. If it's a couple I like to imagine them in different senarios. I also have a folder full of pictures cut out from magazines with people's faces, their outfits, houses, cars, children, pets, food - the list is endless. If I'm stuck for a story - which these days I seem lucky enough not to be - I'll have a rummage in this folder and pick out a few random pictures and try to create a story based on them. It has certainly given me a few interesting ideas!

Last night I had great difficulty sleeping, I often do when my husband works nights. But last night was worse because for some strange reason there was this extremely annoying intermittant whining sound, like a circular saw or similar going off. It went on until 4am, and every time I closed my eyes ,when it went quiet, it would start off again!!! If my husband had have been home I would have put it down to his snoring, but he wasn't and so I couldn't. We have a small industrial estate nearby so I suspect the sounds were coming from there. But the noise actually did me a favour as it gave me a few more ideas for some stories!

So ideas for stories are all around us, we just have to have our eyes open in readiness to recieve them. Oh, and make sure that we write them down before we forget them. There's nothing worse that having a brilliant idea in the middle of the night but forgetting it in the morning. Grrr! It's so fustrating.

Happy writing!


Suzanne said...

I hate noise at night. Before I had my daughter I used to be able to sleep through anything (in fact, I even managed to sleep through that hurricane in the late 80's), but now, even the slightest thing wakes me.

It's really interesting to find out how people get their ideas. I've got odds and ends I've torn from newspapers and magazines and little bits I've scibbled all over the place. I really should get organised. Your A5 notebook idea sounds like a good one.

Jaye said...

I think writing a complete story in one go like that has only happened to me once. Generally it's scrappy notes in the notebooks that I re-read and start to piece together. The notebook is the thing, isn't it? I haven't stopped writing since I started carrying notebooks everywhere!

Julie P said...

Notebook and pen - don't leave home without them! Most women can't live without their lipstick or mascara - me? I can't do without my note books and pens! No make up, messy hair but at least I have lots of ideas in my note books!

Julie P said...

You see what you've gone and done now, Nicola?! I was spurred on by your poem success and I had a look at the website, (excellent poem.) I dug out some of the poems I wrote as part of the writng course and submitted it and it's published on the website! I don't consider myself a poet and it was a bit of free verse but I thought I'd just give it go. I told Wekin Writers admin of our success and they've emailed other Wrekin Writers to have a go! (I hope you don't mind?) I think I got a bit over excited!

Nicola said...

Hi Julie,

No problem at all. (I'm in a really good mood as school closed at lunchtime today because of the snow! Before anyone starts making comments about skiving teachers, I should point out that this is the first time in living memory that my school has closed as a result of the weather...)

Hopefully we'll inspire everyone else to contribute to the website too.

N xx