So after a month of taking it easy post-finals, I’m well and truly back on the wagon. I’ve been gorging on blogs and tweets and articles from writers, about writers, about novels, short stories and marketing.
This morning, the first post on my feed was this one; the announcement of week four of the Writer Unboxed flash fiction contest. I entered today’s competition, and you can find my entry in the comments section of that post. I can’t help but feel like I’ve cheated myself out of the other three weeks! Maybe I’ll write them anyway and post them here.
But it got me thinking.
During my degree, the inspiration for stories, poems, flash fiction and the like was handed to me on a plate by tutors. It flowed constantly in the form of ideas, discussion about previously published pieces and workshopping with other students. I took it almost for granted, I suppose. And yet something as logically infinite as inspiration can seem so sparse. Staring at the blinking cursor on a blank page can be soul-destroying, and inspiration can seem as a hazy mirage in a desert of white.
So it’s important to realise when the opportunity for inspiration knocks, and to open the door and let it in. I tend to carry a notebook with me, so that I can jot down ideas when they come up. Small phrases people say, the way someone inflects a word, an interesting mannerism, a scene, a story idea, a word coupling… the list goes on. I also found scrap-booking helpful while I was working on ideas in uni, too. Cutting and pasting interesting pictures, writing a few words to go with them, that sort of thing.
I’m not advocating dropping everything and writing the moment an idea comes into your head. If only life were so conveniently carefree! But taking a few seconds to jot down an idea can save a grat deal of frustration when you do have time to sit down and write. And before you know it your white desert will be a landscape of creativity!
If you haven’t checked out Writer Unboxed yet, please do. And hey! There are still three weeks of the competition left. Give it a go!