Day 31: Mapping Out Writing Time: Finding Inspiration When You Least Expect It

I recently went to my doctor’s office for a routine exam. Even though I love knowing about all things medical, I hate feeling vulnerable, embarrassed and stressed in one fell swoop. There’s nothing like being displayed for all the world to see to give one a jolt of adrenalin. Then to top it off, the check-out counter is right outside the examination rooms, to ensure no one skips payment or leaves without making any needed appointments.

As an administrator processed my payment, I noticed a fishbowl on the counter, with a little sign taped on the side: FISH FOR SOME INSPIRATION. A handmade fishing pole decorated the edge of the bowl, and little slips of paper, folded in half, waited at the bottom. You know how I’m a sucker for inspiration, especially when some guy is next to me, practically jumping over the counter to whisper to a customer service person the nature of his appointment. In my quest to tune him out and offer some privacy, I visualized INSPIRATION and reached into the fishbowl.

My catch of the day:

Keep steadily before you the fact that all true success
depends at last upon yourself.
-Theodore T. Hunger

How true. Inspired, I searched for the administrator helping me so I could leave. In the meantime, she decided to multi-task and help someone else. The agitated man still stood at the counter and rather than look at him, I decided to fish again.

A strong imagination begetteth opportunity.
-Michael de Montaigne

Writers need a lot of imagination to create stories, and this quote was perfect for me. I was ready to write and managed to capture the administrator’s attention. The stressed-out man edged closer to me. I was still trying to offer the man some privacy by avoiding him, but finally realized the kindness he might need more was INSPIRATION. I looked the elderly man in the eye, smiled, and stepped aside.

I must admit, I reached in the bowl one last time and found this…

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?
-Vincent Van Gogh

Yup. My writing is speaking to me.

Write-a-Scene Writing Prompt: There are times we all find inspiration in the unlikeliest of places–in the doctor’s office, at the bus stop, from a stranger, the loser boyfriend, during a math test, while riding a bike, maybe even watching a bug on a flower.

Let your MC do the same. Think of the setting, the seemingly insignificant steps, and then, let the AHA! moment work its magic. Is your MC alone? Or with friends? With family? Perhaps an enemy? What type of conflict is involved? Emotion?

Where was the unlikeliest place you found inspiration?

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Vivian Lee Mahoney

Consider yourself warned: I write books about rebels. I'm also a postergirlz for readergirlz, a literary advisory group for teens. Who knew going back to the teenage years would be so rewarding?

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