Nearly every writer hates to be asked, “Where do your ideas come from?” Here the author is confronted squarely by the ephemeral nature of her work. Where presumes a place that exists on a map or biology textbook. Where presumes a there. Of course, there is no there. One moment there was no writing idea, the next moment there was.
The author might answer that she saw something interesting or unusual – like two lovers arguing on a street corner – and from this began the “what ifs” from which so many stories are born. But the writing idea did not come from the two lovers arguing, it came from the mysterious intersection of that scene and the author’s unique curiosity. Why that scene and why not another nearly like it she had glimpsed before? Within that unanswerable question beats the unseen heart of all creation.
Which is why when an audience member asks an author where her writing ideas come from, the author might as well be asked why the universe exists. The author may not want to see herself as a microcosm of the universe and its infinite creativity. She’s just an honest gal trying to tell an honest story and make an honest living. And yet the author silently faces the uneasy truth that she sits down at her desk everyday and asks that which cannot be seen to provide for her that which does not yet exist. This is where writing ideas come from.
It’s okay if you don’t want to think about it. In fact, creation is beyond the comprehension of our thinking mind. Know only that writing ideas come in answer to the question of your desire. The stronger the desire, the faster and brighter they come. This is the unerring formula.
I know this formula as I know my own reflection, and yet not a day goes by when I do not doubt it. Not a day goes by when I do not feel abandoned and astray. Such is the suffering impatience brings. To hear the beating of your own heart and call it the ticking of a clock, as if time could run out on creation, when it was creation that invented time.
Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion.
“A book to keep nearby whenever your writer’s spirit needs feeding.” Deb Caletti.