Monday, March 28, 2016

What if?

Let's talk about inspiration for a second. We all need it. Yet, we all get it from different places. And sometimes we never know where or when it might strike. But until the MG Minders decided to tackle this topic over the next few weeks, I never really thought about where my inspiration came from.
And as much as I'd love to say Buzz speaks the truth, unfortunately that's not always the case. Okay, sure there's tons and tons of ideas, in fact I have over 150 email drafts in my inbox where I store my spur of the moment thoughts. However, most of those ideas are just a single thought, they don't have characters, plot, or depth to them. They aren't unique, and they don't carry much weight.

Every once in a while an idea will strike and take hold, or in some cases if I'm very lucky, it'll take over. We all love when the words start pouring out of us, but I'm getting ahead of myself. How do we actually get to the point where the ideas just come. Where does that spark of inspiration come from?
The short unhelpful answer is EVERYWHERE. But it goes much deeper than that. Sometimes, I honestly don't know. Sometimes there's a word or a phrase that some says or I something I read online that will set me off, other times it's an article or something on TV or in a movie. Most frequently though, the inspiration comes from within me. It's engrained in my very nature.
Confused yet? I know, it surprised me a bit too. But when I really sat back to think about it, every manuscript I write has a large piece of me in it. I often don't even realize it's happening. Let me explain.

In addition to writing in my free time, I'm also an aerospace engineer. It's not only something that pays the bills, but it's something I really enjoy. I love science and math. I also love science fiction and fantasy. And those ideals are so closely tied together. In my day job, I'm constantly surrounded by technology and research. The wheels in my brain are always spinning within the real world, and the world just out of reach. I'm always asking myself questions about what is, what could be, and what seems impossible. But the one question I find myself asking most frequently when it comes to my writing is 'What If'.
Even when I feel completely lost, that one question has become the source of a majority of my inspiration. It starts with that spark that I mentioned earlier, someone says something, that article, that TV show, etc. but it's that 'What if' question that keeps me moving forward. My thoughts and ideals, the things I dream could be real one day, and the things that are just out of reach that terrify me. Those are the inspirations behind my work.

How far can I push that idea? What would that world look like? And how would a character react and survive in that situation? Those are the ideas and thoughts that help drive my stories.

So the next time your find yourself stuck...
Where do you get your inspirations? What drives your stories?


  1. I call that first spark THE ANCHOR. It's like an unmoored boat suddenly finding a place to stand, just long enough, from where the captain (that's you, the writer) can chart the journey.

    1. ooo I really like that analogy. Thank you so much for sharing it :)

    2. Very poetic explanation, Mirka!

  2. I feel like I come upon something inspiring almost every day - either in the paper, on the street, in my reading, in my thoughts, etc. So when people ask if I ever suffer from writers' block, I always answer that it's just the opposite -too many ideas, too little time to turn them into something.

    1. I definitely suffer from the too many ideas problem as well, so I sympathize with that. But I still get blocked within ideas sometimes and get stuck trying to figure out how to proceed.