"Where do you get your ideas?"
I hear this a lot and short of saying "Um, inside my brain," I usually just smile and shrug and mention how I like the other person's belly shirt and cut off jeans.
But I've decided I need a real answer so people start returning my calls. So here it is:
Writing is catharsis for me as I imagine it is for everyone. Whether you seek out the written word to heal your heart or it just happens to do so in the process, writing has a way of putting everyone back together again. I believe that's why I tend to start with broken characters, people who are intrinsically hurt as if the seed was planted before birth.
My inspiration lies in pain.
It's not as morbid as it sounds. Or maybe it is. Either way, I know what sets my fingers to work and there's something about the need to fix a person that keeps me typing. But it's not the same for everyone.
There are people who want to capture fragments of time, there are others who are driven by plot and can't stop pecking at the keys until their ending is in site. Heck, there are even those who are inspired by the drink and I ain't talking water.
If we are going to call ourselves writers then we need to determine what inspires us and alter it for our purposes. Whether it be emotions, memories, or people, we need to shape what inspires us, tame it to our liking and create something that not only speaks to us as writers but speaks to our audiences as well. Maybe then people will start returning our calls.
What inspires you? Do you find writing to be an emotional outlet that lends itself to catharsis? Is catharsis part of your inspiration or just simply the end result of the writing process? Do people never call you back or is that just me?