Malcolm Stone, The Writer, Writing Process

Inspiration, where does it come from?

What inspires you to write?  That question can be very tricky to answer when you are talking to someone who doesn’t write.  They expect a concrete answer, instead of the very subjective one they are typically given.  Asking me to describe what inspires me it almost like asking why the sky is blue.  Each writer is inspired by something different and yet it has the same outcome, an insatiable quest to write a story.

I used to have difficulties answering that question.  I would fumble around for an answer that I thought would make the person asking happy and wouldn’t make me look like a fool.  Now that I am a little more comfortable in my own skin and skills as a writer I answer the question with a heartfelt answer.

What initially inspired me to write the Malcolm Stone series?  Honestly I am not 100% sure.  I know I had finished reading a bestselling series and I thought it was written alright, but it wasn’t the best writing I had ever read, but yet it was selling like hotcakes.  I  thought I wonder if I could actually write something half as good as those books.  So I set off on a quest to sharpen my creativity.  I had neglected my creativity for years and thought it lost.

At one point in time I actually thought it childish to make up stories.  I look back now and think that was my self-esteem telling me lies in order to protect myself from the unknown.  I was always afraid of sharing my work with others in fear they would hate it and more realistically make fun of me for writing it.  What if I did write a story and it was well received?  Could I write another one?  Luckily I decided to take a chance and jump into writing head first.  I have never regretted the decision to write and pour my soul on to paper for someone else to read.

October 2010 049If I am asked the same question today what inspires me to write?  Well it changes from day to day.  Sometimes my environment sparks the need to write.  Those days when I am sitting outside, the weather is perfect, the wind is blowing a slight breeze picking up the scent of nearby flowers, the birds chirping overhead.  It’s the most relaxing days I feel that I must just go write more.  Other days it could be the rain drops tapping lightly against the window or the cold winter wind howling against the trees.  Most days I admit I am inspired by music.  Normally when writing I am listening to classical music, most of the time it is piano solos.  I can imagine Malcolm Stone sitting down at his grand piano, placing his elegant fingers on the keys and playing.  Back when I started writing, I used to listen to a free streaming radio station out of Connecticut, it played all sorts of symphonies, concertos, guitar solos and operas.  I was so inspired to write that I used to write outlines of scenes at my desk at work.  Unfortunately that station is no longer a free stream and is priced a bit too much for me to pay, but I have found substitutes that work nearly as well.  Now I can listen to symphonic music if I want, but mostly I listen to solo piano.

As arrogant as it may sound, the ultimate inspiration for me to write is a duty I owe to my characters.  I breathed life into them, gave them a personality, sorrows and happiness.  At times they seem more real to me than the people around me.  I feel a duty to them to tell their story.  I no longer have the fear of not being able to write well or even only having one set of stories in my head because I know there are more characters up there in my imagination just trying to find their voice to let me know them.

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9 thoughts on “Inspiration, where does it come from?”

    1. I know exactly what you mean… that question drives me crazy too. They just kind of pop out of no-mans-land. You just really want to direct that person to creativity courses so they can truly understand.

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  1. My answer changes every time – because there are so many things that are inspiring.

    Ultimately (heads up – this is more arrogant lol) – it’s because I have a message to share with the world, and that’s what any story of mine is built around.

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    1. I don’t find that arrogant at all.

      As a matter of fact, that thought process is exactly why I am going to self-publish. I want the story that gets out to the world to be mine, not something that started out as mine then was tweaked to sell more copies.

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  2. Like you, Amanda, inspiration chances with what I’m working on at the time. If you asked me ‘why do you write’, my answer would be that I’m so much more comfortable sharing my thought in writing than I do when I speak.

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  3. Why do you write? My standard answer: ‘Because I am inspired.’
    What inspires you? My typical answer: ‘I am inspired by almost everything.’ It is easiest if they ask me what inspired me to a certain story or to a certain blog post.
    Your concluding paragraph is interesting. That I owe my characters is rather what is driving me to continue. And then, when I am giving them a personality, adventures, etc. I start being inspired by them.

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    1. I always feel like that question is so very loaded. It’s like going into a job interview and they say… so tell me about yourself.

      I was filling out some interview questions for someone when they asked what inspired me to write and I hadn’t put much thought into it, but I got to thinking my characters keep making me come back for more. I absolutely love the characters I’ve created and hope one day others will be able to share that love with me!

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