Writing fuel

Day 7 of the #wpad blog challenge.

What fuels my writing? There are various ways to interpret this prompt: where do I find my material? Where do I find inspiration? Energy?

The “material” question is easy to answer. Just keep your eyes and ears open, there are stories all around you all the time. I find public transport a rich source of potential stories – whether on a train, going up and down escalators in the underground, or waiting at the bus stop. You overhear snippets of a conversation, you study peoples’ expression or bearing: where do they come from? What’s their every day life like, how did they get there and what could (have) upset it? Newspaper headlines also often trigger ideas. And I have a friend who is full of weird (true) stories that I then spin off from.

Weaving material into stories requires inspiration. That is a lot harder to find. Sometimes music helps – although I usually write without music, there are some stories and some music (the older Sting stuff or Jeff Buckley, Glenn Gould playing Bach) that go well together. But before I get to that stage, I need to drop everything else and allow myself to sit down and write. The inspiration for this – perhaps it is more accurate to say the encouragement – comes from other writers. From writer friends, from participating in challenges like this one, from courses with assignments and discussions. And, most precious of all to me, from my youngest daughter who is already a better writer than I will ever be, even if she doesn’t trust her abilities yet.

As for writing fuel in the form of energy, I have nothing specific. I just notice that when I really write, not just fool around on the keyboard while checking emails and facebook every five minutes, I don’t need anything except for the occasional glass of water. At that point, my story is the writing fuel.

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