Being part of a local writer's group has been a fascinating experience for me. It has given me additional confidence, enabled me to get involved in discussions on writing, publishing and self-publishing and I've made some new friends all who love what I love. Yay!
What I have found interesting is that although we all share a love of writing, we write in quite different ways. The group runs at our local library and each time we are given some homework to complete before the next meeting. One gentleman says that often by the time he reaches his car outside in the car park (less than a five minute walk away), he already has the ideas sprouting in his head for his next story and his homework is almost complete other than him putting pen to paper or hands to laptop to write it down. I, on the other hand, tend to mull the exercise over and over in my mind and often the exact idea doesn't arrive until the day before or sometimes even on the day of the next meeting itself. For me, it's almost like once I sit down to write and the pressure builds the ideas arrive. Yet for him, he has hundreds of ideas all competing against one another everyday. I can't imagine what that must be like. It sounds wonderful, but perhaps it has it's own complications, like deciding which ideas to use and work on.
I often find that once I have the first sentence in mind, then I'm fine or that some random words may appear in my head and want to lead me somewhere. I really must write those words down when they appear. They often come just before I am fully awake in the morning and drift in and out of my mind. I think to myself that I'll remember that and write it down when I wake up properly and then of course when I do, it's often gone. Although today, I did remember a title for a book of short stories. I don't have the stories yet, but I love the title of the book. Better get busy with some more ideas and inspiration for those stories.
If you do find coming up with ideas challenging then there are some websites that can help you. One of my favourites is Morgen Bailey's site - yes that is Morgen with an E. Everyday without fail, Morgen sends out an email once you're subscribed or updates her Facebook page with prompts to help you write. She gives several prompts including random words, a picture and a starting sentence. She encourages you to write for fifteen minutes on one or all of her prompts and it can be a great starting point for a short story or a piece of flash fiction. You can also post your results on her site. I posted one of mine and she contacted me about putting it up as part of her Flash Fiction site. If you'd like to take a read of it, you can find the link here. She also covers lots of different aspects of writing and her site is a wealth of information. You can find her site by clicking here.
If you'd like to share your own ways of generating ideas and how you get inspired, then naturally I'd love to hear them. Perhaps you like to be in a certain space or use a special pen? It seems that us writers have a lot of rituals around writing. Interesting - maybe that's another future post - Writing Rituals. Watch this space...