Life is Unexpectedly Inspiring

People often ask me where I get the ideas for my stories.  My family will be the first to tell you that much of my real life plays out in my stories.

Mateo as a Belgian Shepherd? I actually owned one. One of the best damn dogs I have ever owned and I miss her every day.

Getting aggressively hit on in a bar? I used to work as a shooter girl in a bar. That experience paled in the light of a visit to an all night club in Vegas where I met a guy who made all of the cheesy come-on lines of the past look like the efforts of toddlers. This guy was handsy and his pick-up lines were so obscene that I did actually ask him, “Do those EVER really work for you?” They must have at some point because he didn’t know the meaning of the words give up. It took a very handsome man, who I later learned was a US Marine on leave, stepping in to rescue an obviously uncomfortable woman. I am no damsel in distress and normally I am more than capable of looking after myself, but this experience left them all in the dust. And I really didn’t want to test my dad’s assertions that he would bail me out of jail if I got arrested. Getting into a bar fight carries a high probability of that happening. I took the dashing Marine’s offer of help.

This weekend was my birthday. I will only admit to being twenty-seven. I am most definitely probably lying, but only my mother and my driver’s license would dare try to tell the truth. My husband, in his truly amazing way, came up with another original way to spend the day.

Gifts are nice and every girl likes sparkly things, but with my day job jewelry gets in the way and diamonds on a construction site only make you look pretentious. My husband and I have known a guy for many years, we’ve talked and been invited to his place a hundred times and always said, “That would be great!” but never getting around to doing it. This friend of ours is a down-to-earth genuine guy with a beautiful property in rural *Vancouver-ish*. The thing that makes his place truly unique is the fact that he leases it out to professional animal trainers. We’re not talking dogs and cats here. Well at least not the domestic kinds… My husband surprised me with a trip to this friend’s house where I got to pet a wolf. I stood two feet from a Polar Bear and then fed a Grizzly Bear grapes after he so adorably begged for them. The raccoons eating bits of doughnut out of my hands and chittering at me made my heart melt. It was a short couple of hours that will forever be implanted in my brain and will no doubt lead to some interesting plot lines or scenes in the future.

Life is not collecting things. Life is collecting experiences and memories. It was one day I will forever remember and I got to spend it with my best friend.

Inspiration

Any writer will tell you stories about their inevitable issues with Writer’s Block. Anyone who tells you they’ve never experienced it is either a liar or hasn’t written much. Every writer has had writer’s block. You see it on twitter and facebook – sometimes in long rants that are entertaining in and of themselves and sometimes in two emotion filled words “I’m Blocked!”

Surf social media long enough and you’ll find posts from aggravated authors determined to make words flow but only succeed in watching their cursor blink. Interesting word…cursor.  Makes you want to curse at it while it blinks at  you mockingly.

Blink, blink, blink…You should write something…blink, blink, blink…Anything…blink, blink, blink…People are waiting to hear from you…blink, blink, blink…Are you frustrated yet?

AAARGHH! YES!!!!! 

And while hurling that blinking little bastard across the room might be momentarily gratifying, we would soon bemoan the loss of our most loved appendage. Our laptop. 

Then there would be the separation anxiety while you take it to be fixed, the tears of worry over whether or not the data can be retrieved, the heartbreak and guilt over losing your temper on a beloved friend. You know what I mean right?

Anyone…?

*crickets*

Fine, don’t admit it! You all know exactly what I am talking about. You’re just as attached to your computer of choice as I am.

It’s at that point that most of us take to cyberspace for inspiration or advice. Well-meaning and sympathetic friends offer their sure fire ways of breaking past the block (all the while knowing they are full of crap – if they had a sure fire way of avoiding writers block they wouldn’t know what it feels like). 

Over the past three years I have spent countless hours researching and surfing the net for inspiration for my book. Myths I can twist, little known creatures that haven’t been exploited yet, titbits of information that would unleash a torrent of imagination. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – but I think of the days before the internet, (Yes, I am that old! Not by much though…) and the hours it would have taken me to wade through the library for a fraction of the inspiration that the internet gives me. (For you younger kids this a building filled with books you can borrow to read – the internet in hard copy)  

The days before Photoshop and the resulting imagination starters, no tumbler for moving representations of emotions, no Pinterest, and no library at your fingertips allowing you to research in your pajamas. (Not that I do that…oh who am I kidding, of course I do. So do you) Even news stories can be fodder for the writers imagination. 

So, in answer to my sure fire way to fight writers block…I surf. Sometimes something will trigger a scene in my head that needs to be written. Maybe it gets used, maybe it doesn’t – but at least it gets the words flowing again. Failing that I may start writing from another characters point-of-view. Sometimes it’s just that I’m talking to the wrong character. My biggest weapon against the dreaded block is writing ahead. Sometimes the scene that is screaming to be written is farther along in the story than I have laid out. It nags me so incessantly that if I write it, I can go back to concentrating on the previously blocked section without issue.  

But there are times the cursor blinks at me, taunting me with possibility. Inevitably writer’s block strikes us all.

I keep my purse stocked with notebooks and voice recorders. My phone is packed with notes because it never fails – I am out somewhere completely inconvenient when the block breaks. This of course sets off an whole new level of frustration…which I will leave to rant about another day.