Last summer is around the time when I had decided to return to the world of writing after so many years away. My plan was to work on a YA fantasy trilogy that had taken one form or another in my mind for years and years. The outline was written, and I was ready to start.
Well, I was ready to start, then stop, and then start again. A cycle that I had been stuck in for far too long.
Then something happened that I wasn’t expecting: my children asked me when I was going to write a story for them.
I thought that was a great question. Why not write them a little story? It could be a little fun project on the side while I tried to get the creative juices flowing with my trilogy.
Finding time to write has been my biggest obstacle for as long as I can remember, but the time for their story presented itself immediately. Since I always leave for work in the morning before the rest of my house wakes, I leave messages for my kids on a little message board that sits on our dining table. Usually, I leave a couple of cheesy jokes or just something to start their day off knowing that I’m thinking of them. I thought that instead of jokes, I could write a little bit of the story every day.
And so the story began. Before I knew it, the inspiration was flowing, my fun little project was becoming a full fledged novel, and my trilogy was now pushed to the side. The best part, of course, was that my kids loved it. My wife thought it was pretty good, too.
I had tried to write one story for years without much progress, because my focus wasn’t clear. My inspiration had been muddled by a multitude of circumstances and mixed motivations.
When I had a clear idea of what I wanted to write, and better that I had a clear idea of who my audience was, the story came to me without hesitation.
I am a big fan of having a clear plan for writing. Its usually vital to have an outline and a synopsis of your story, as well as strong character development, in order to keep your story straight and on pace.
However, nothing trumps clear inspiration.
My children’s request was what I needed right then to unlock the floodgates of a story. I don’t know what it will be next time, but hopefully it won’t be years before it visits me again. I’m confident it won’t be, because I have a clearer understanding of why I write my stories.
Why do you write? What’s your inspiration?