Well, I can only speak for myself when you ask the question, where do authors pull their inspiration from, and for me, that’s from other creative sources, my interests, and the day-to-day.
I love all things creative. I also appreciate the every day: the brief conversations at the office, the turmoil, and the upheaval of being human, the good. A variety of experiences are very necessary for a creative person to produce. As I wrote in Her Past’s Present: In such a person sadness breeds purpose. They find inspiration in the darkness. Oftentimes, I believe, they will impress a hell onto their own lives in order to recreate it that others might suffer the experience from the comfort of their armchairs.
To inspire me to write isn’t a difficult task. In fact, when an idea is sparked, I’m hard-pressed not to see it through. I love to write, and I love the effect it has on me. I’ve always said, I write what I want to read and that’s still true after 14 books. A song, a book, a movie, a play where I experience an emotional connection drives inspiration too. Sometimes these are my greatest drivers. Other times, quiet meditation in the woods will draw out a new thought or supposition that becomes a story.
Writer’s block has rarely been an issue for me once an idea is penned. I usually know when a storyline will become a novel, a short, or just sit on the sidelines in my slush pile waiting for its moment. This way I can move forward with the winning idea and leave the others behind until I feel the pull to call upon them, or they whisper in my ear: it’s time.
Emotion is something that drives my writing, throughout the process and into editing. If a song, for instance, whose mood and lyrics are relatable to my story enters my awareness at the right time, it too may inspire further creative input into the work in progress. This makes it difficult to know when a book is finished, but that’s always the struggle. I accept outside influences until I’m satisfied. I can’t imagine the book finished if I haven’t said all I mean to.
Characters inspire me as well. I believe they choose me; already existing in the ether. Once awakened, they will act out their will until I’ve satisfied both our needs. It’s as if the larger story has been told in another – dare I say, parallel universe, and I’m merely writing historical fact to enjoy as fiction in ours.
Inspiration comes in many forms. The key is to be open to their call to action. Creative people are naturally more open to the whispers of inspiration and though it can take us by surprise (as so often it will) it must be respected. Looking back on the past 11 years I wonder how I managed to write 14 books (book 14 not yet available). Never mind the umpteen short stories and flash fictions that have never seen the light of day. I am not so egocentric to believe they are all born of my imagination, but I am always grateful for the gift I am allowed to share with myself and my audience however large or small.
So, my answer to the question, where do authors pull inspiration from, may seem muddy, but from that mud, a clearer picture develops the more it is polished down. Take your inspiration and run with it. It comes bearing gifts.