Like Magic....

Katherine Longshore 2 Tuesday, May 01, 2012
Where do ideas come from?  Isn't that the $64,000 question?  Where do any ideas come from?  But at the risk of getting too philosophical and existential on you, I'll just answer the question "Where do My ideas come from?"

Mine come from everywhere.  All the time.  When I was younger, I used to think I needed that perfect space, the cocoon of creativity that would be the perfect growth medium for beauty and art.  But now I can see that I can't dictate where or when ideas will come.  And there is no cocoon.  But there has to be practice.

I can't just wait for an idea to come.  But I can't force them to come either.  But I have to remind myself that I'm looking for them.  Let the mind travel along those fluid channels of thought that take me to the right place at the right time.  And then hang onto the idea when it comes.  Like Donna said, use the moments when your brain isn't taxed doing other things (huh, like taxes) - driving, showering, running, washing dishes.  I even surprised myself yesterday by coming up with an idea for my revision in the dentist's chair while getting my teeth cleaned (a time when my brain is usually preoccupied with ihatethis ihatethis ihatethis).

But for me the most fertile place to dig for ideas is when I travel.  Car time and plane time aside.  I love to visit the sites I'm already writing about (Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London) or may never write about (Stonehenge, Bosworth Field).  But I find my inspiration in places I never imagined existed.  Tangmere Air Museum.  Petworth House.  The Vyne.  Historical sites that are so deeply rooted in story and family and sometimes even mystery that they seem to vibrate.  I love to have the tactile experience of moving through space once occupied by characters in my mind - and by characters who led lives of vivid inspiration.

You don't have to write historical novels to find inspiration in travel.  Just traveling to the local mall can be inspiring (a little bit of Cat in GILT was inspired by a girl I saw at the local high school one day).  Travel through memory can be inspiring.  And travel through newspapers and radio.

Where do you travel for inspiration?


I find that the more I open myself up to them then the faster they come. It's all about exploring the bad as well as the good until that little gem takes seed.

Love this comment, Kate, because I find it's absolutely true!

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