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.


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.