Tuesday 11 July 2023

Unveiling the Mysteries of Inspiration: A Writer's Perspective

In the early days of my writing journey, during my high school years, I had completed what I considered my "third novel." At that time, my closest supporters were my friends, who often found themselves as characters within my stories. Joseph, one of my friends, once asked me a question that has lingered in my mind ever since: "Where do you find all your ideas?"

As a sixteen-year-old, I shrugged in response to Joseph's inquiry. Ideas seemed to manifest themselves effortlessly, appearing from all corners of my mind. Even now, at the age of fifty-something, inspiration still strikes unexpectedly. The key is to be prepared to capture them.

Ideas possess an enigmatic nature. If you actively search for them, they may seem elusive, requiring effort to coax them forward. Yet, when you least expect it—perhaps while driving a car—those cunning ideas pounce upon you, seemingly out of thin air, leaving you with no immediate means to capture them.

These days, I have become more adept at readiness. I keep a journal or notebook within reach of my bedside, ensuring that if an idea materialises within a dream, I can swiftly awaken and jot it down. However, this practice comes with its challenges. Occasionally, I unintentionally disturb my wife from her slumber, which inevitably leads to morning grumpiness. Furthermore, deciphering my own early-morning handwriting can prove quite the puzzle.

Another inconvenient time for ideas to emerge is when I am behind the wheel. It frustrates me, for I cannot immediately record them without pausing my journey and risking lateness. However, I have devised a sly strategy. Unbeknownst to those sneaky ideas, I have a voice-recording app called "Voice Memo" tucked away in the console beside the driver's seat. With a simple touch of my fingerprint scanner, I can activate the app, hit the start button, and seamlessly speak my ideas aloud, all while keeping my eyes focused on the road ahead.

Although the voice-recording method has proven effective, it presents one significant challenge. It necessitates finding time later to listen to my recordings—an activity that requires more patience than my ability to rapidly consume written text. What transpires when I eventually revisit these recordings and transcribe them, incorporating additional notes and adjustments?

The true challenge lies in transforming those initial sparks of inspiration into a cohesive narrative spanning at least 40,000 words, with my current goal often reaching 75,000 words. In my teenage years, I would write what I considered a chapter—a mere ten typed pages—aiming for a total of seventeen to twenty chapters.

When ideas prove elusive, and I seek to exercise my writing muscles by typing 1000-2000 words in the morning's freshness, I turn to mind-mapping. This technique involves free association of words and thoughts, allowing my mind to wander and interconnect various concepts. Mind-mapping is not only a valuable tool for my stage performances as a mentalist but also an effective method for brainstorming new ideas.

The quest for inspiration remains an ever-present adventure for writers. Whether ideas come unexpectedly or require coaxing, the creative process is as captivating as the stories we ultimately weave. I invite you to share your own methods for brainstorming new ideas, as we embark on a journey of imagination and exploration together.




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