Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Where a writer's ideas come from

Since a headache is preventing me from concentrating on anything long enough to write even a brief and fluffy blog post, I've decided to recycle what I posted here on NRJW one year ago today:


Seeing standing water on our patio makes my hunk o' burnin' love a little crazy because that means the drain isn't working efficiently. But I liked the reflections I saw yesterday in this rain puddle. Although I was supposed to be doing something else, I stood at my office window for a good fifteen minutes staring at this reflection of some nearby winter-bared trees.

Those of you who don't write fiction often ask where story ideas come from. Sometimes they come from rain puddles. As I gazed into this one, I fell headlong into a daydream, and now I have a fresh idea for a scene I've been working on.

Story ideas can come from anywhere. But they'll fly at a writer thick and fast when she gives herself permission to indulge in frequent daydreaming--even when she's supposed to be doing other things.

I feel a little pang of sorrow whenever I recall what my teachers wrote on my grade-school report cards: Brenda is too easily distracted. She needs to stop looking out the window. It wasn't until I was 45 years old and first tried my hand at writing a novel that I began seeing my propensity to daydream as a strength rather than a character flaw. So I hate knowing that somewhere right now, a teacher is writing those same crushing words on some distractible, daydreaming kid's report card.

I hope that child doesn't take as long as I did to figure out that her life will be richer once she learns to stop feeling guilty about those impulses to stare into rain puddles.

3 comments:

Emily Veinglory said...

That question always makes me laugh. Ideas are never in short supply :)

Carla Gade said...

That is a fascinating picture ~ no wonder you were inspired! God is full of surprises and interesting perspectives.

Brenda Coulter said...

Ladies, thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.