Inspiration came to me in the form of a wine bottle label. The folklore for which the wine was named after formed a story in my head as I delicately sipped a glass of the bottle’s deep red, oaky liquid. I wasn’t prepared. In the midst of a wine tasting, I never expected my muse would hit me. The fear that I would forget the story boiled deep in my belly. Grabbing a tiny pencil, I flipped over my wine sampler list and ferociously started scribbling the plot that started taking shape in my brain. Everyone in the room thought I was mad; my friend laughed and said, “She’s a writer, this is normal.”
And this is normal. Writers have a different perspective of the world. We are artists and storytellers. Nothing it taken for face value and within everything we see a deeper meaning, a story waiting to be told. As a writer, you must always be prepared, on guard with pen and paper in hand. Inspiration will strike when you least expect it. If it isn’t captured or remembered, it will disappear faster than you can blink an eye.
Over the years, I have been caught off guard and many amazing stories have been lost in the fog of my horrible memory. Most ideas never see the light again and are forever lost in an abyss. It is a sad and dismal experience to go through the loss of a potential story idea. As a writer, I am sure you know what I am talking about. You have probably lost several ideas yourself. There are a few things that I have started doing, and since starting, it is rare that I ever lose an inspiration:
- Always, always, always have paper and something to write with stored somewhere on your person. Even if it is just a sheet of crumpled paper and a golf pencil, that is still enough to jot down an idea when it suddenly hits you.
- Have no paper? You have a hand. Act like you are in elementary school again and take notes on the back of your hand, around your wrist, up your arm, and so on.
- No pen or pencil? Improvise. I once dipped my finger in mud and wrote on a tissue. I also knew another author who used his blood and wrote on his t-shirt, but that was kind of gross. Yuck, germs!
- I bet your cell phone has a voice memo recorder. If not, there is an app for that.
- Or go buy a digital voice recorder (if you want to be “old skool”, get one with cassette tapes). Voice recorders make for some of the best ways to record your inspirations. A word of caution: If you are detailing out a murder scene, it is best to do this in private where no one else can hear. You may get strange looks or the cops called on you.
There! You have no excuse to ever be caught unprepared should a story inspiration strike. Capture every idea that pops into your marvelous writer brain. You never know, one may be a best seller!