April 16, 2009


I always like reading about how other writers and creators gather their inspiration. Here's an excerpt from Mimi Kirchner, on how she restarts her creative juices:

Years ago I took my son to a talk given by writer Philip Pullman. He was absolutely brilliant. One of the things he talked about was that people often ask where he gets his ideas. He said something along the line of--the ideas come to my desk and if I’m there, I get them. If I’m not, I don’t. So much of the art is just being at your desk and working.

I am inspired by materials (these days beautiful fabrics), things that I touch (robots with the sewing notions for details), the seasons, the little stuff going on in my life everyday, some odd thing that I’ve read about (example- fat fairies), the photos of what everyone else is doing all over the craft blogging world and Flickr, a new technique that I’ve learned, my family, color. And if I am working on something, and if it doesn’t have a face, I probably won’t stay interested for too long! If I hit a dead end, I have two ways of recharging that usually work. I go back to my older work, look through it and try to come up with a new approach or simply do another one. I have found lots of inspiration for the postcards by going through old photos of my pottery. The other technique is to go through all my materials. That way I get two things accomplished- clear out some stuff and almost always find something that sparks an idea.

What was interesting to me was she echoed some things that Pullman said. He mentioned that not every story has to be finished. Sometimes it just needs time, and you'll go back later to pick it up and help it find its way to the end. (I'm paraphrasing.)

I've been thinking a lot about a story I did while in grad school. I think I know how to fix it now, and wonder if this is the way to get back into fiction. After spending so much time in non-fiction (blogging), I sometimes wonder if I'll ever be able to return to that other world. Of course, with fiction, you have to be tough-skinned enough to submit. I find that as I age, I'm becoming more tender-hearted (grandchildren completely rework your insides!) and wonder if I am steady enough, courageous enough to go forward.

However, I realize that I'm jumping ahead here. First, get inspired, then see what happens.

1 comment:

  1. I read a Phillip Pullman thing once (I think on his website...not sure) and he said that people ask what to do when you can't think of anything to write. He said you write anyway! That has been the best writing advice for me, and it has helped me help my students realize that even when you think you have nothing, there is always something.