If you have ever met a writer, been to an author event or are a writer yourself the following question will be familiar to you. The interesting thing is that it never has the same answer or gets boring. In fact at author events when the question is asked I get a little bit tingly and excited to hear the author or writers response.
"Where do you get your ideas from?'
Somebody asked me this recently and I had to take a moment to think it through, and actually in the end I rather fudged my answer as in truth I was worried it might all sound a bit wishy-washy and airy-fairy etc.
The truth is that ideas can come from anywhere and nowhere - some ideas have come from pieces of music, paintings, news articles, other books and some just seem to appear as if from nowhere (see I told you it was bit wishy-washy!)
BUT the idea is just a starting point. It's when our own imaginations kick in that the real magic starts.
A few weeks ago I was walking my dog on the field opposite my house, as I turned to walk alongside the small wood I saw what I thought was a dog standing very close to the edge of the crops (Oilseed Rape) But there was something rather un-doglike about it. It was incredibly still - no wagging tale or alert head. As my dog moved forwards the "other dog" turned, and at that moment I could tell it was a deer. It moved so fluidly and gracefully, without disturbing the oilseed rape in anyway and vanished silently into the crop.
It had been only a few meters away and as I drew level with the patch where it had disappeared I could see a narrow trampled pathway leading into the field. And for a moment I thought about following the path in the hope of seeing the deer again. Of course I knew I had no chance really of this working out, the deer would be far away, disturbed by my intruding footsteps and I'd never see it again.
And I started to think that this was what it was like to chase an idea, if you pursue it to hard you scare it away. Better to allow it to open up the myriad possibilities and paths before you and to wander freely and see what emerges than to hunt something that is faster and wilder than you are.
So where do my ideas come from? From all over, I try to allow everything to potentially inspire me but each thing, be it a song, an image, a word, name or passing fancy to be just the starter.
The way in. The shove in the right direction. The first step in the maze.
Jot it down, pin it, copy and paste, save it for later. And then let it lead me to richer and greater things.