Where do ideas come from?

People ask me this question all the time. They wonder how I thought of a book idea or character name or even how I could have imagined a scene. It’s as if inspiration was something magical that only a few people ever experience.

Yet, I wonder that same question about other people, not writers. I know where writers’ ideas come from. Our ideas come from everywhere. Anything can be inspiring. I walk my IMG_2852dogs every day and ideas come to me. I drive down the road and more ideas come to me. Once I was sitting in the mall and a scene popped into my mind. Writers get ideas from everything in life.

The “place where ideas come from” is not a mystery to me. How we each interpret, then share our ideas is the mystery. Inspiration comes from everywhere. It’s a matter of how we process what we see or hear that helps us create something no one else could imagine.

How artists create paintings, or home decorators design a living room, or how my cover artist takes my abstract idea and comes up with a beautiful cover, or how the baker creates a cake that’s more a piece of art than plain old cake—those are the things I wonder about.

Everyone has a gift. Some of us write. Some paint or draw. Others are gifted in working with people. Still others have “the gift of gab.”

What’s your gift?

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2 Responses to Where do ideas come from?

  1. Mischa Eliot says:

    Absolutely – and that’s why no matter how many books you read, paintings you look at, etc. every one will be different because the original raw idea was interpreted differently. There’s a story that Elizabeth Gilbert tells in Big Magic about an idea that she had, that she started a novel on, and let it flounder and slowly die. Years later she met up with an author friend who started telling her this idea she’d had. It ended up being almost exactly alike but there were many prominent details that had been different enough that it was a completely different story but the same premise, the same basic, raw idea. If you haven’t read Big Magic, it’s worth it. So inspiring.

  2. jordankrose says:

    It is said that every story told is the retelling of another story, but with different characters or settings, etc.

    I will check out Big Magic. Thanks for sharing.

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