Books I Love · Writing

How To Get Inspired – Part 1

Um, is that a ghost in the window? Whew! Nope, just a lamp shade. No, wait…       Image via Wikimedia Commons.

A couple of weeks ago, Hubby and I got the chance to stay for a few days at Estes Park, Colorado. The boys didn’t join us. Instead they had a great time at my sister-in-law’s farm. William’s tears kept spilling out all the way to the airport on the day we left (“I’m going to miss my cousins!”). But Estes was fun for us. When we weren’t hiking the incredible Rocky Mountains (this was my first time experiencing them),  we explored the town. Of course, we couldn’t ignore the huge, historic, and haunted, Stanley Hotel which overlooked it.

At first, hubby said that it was the hotel where The Shining was filmed. But this turned out to be half true. It was the setting for the mini-series, not the movie with Jack Nicholson. But more importantly, it was where Stephen King was inspired to write that novel.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never read The Shining, nor have I seen the movie. I’ve seen the first part of the miniseries since we got back. I have a hard time swallowing much of Stephen Kings works though I’ve read a few. I like his plot ideas and description. Some of his content pushes my boundaries a bit too much and turns me off, but none more so than the amount of expletives he uses. This is was especially true when I tried to read Blockade Billy. I couldn’t finish it despite how short it was.

What does fascinate me about King is how prolific he is as a writer. I enjoyed On Writing for the same reason I enjoyed Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone. Both books caused ideas to light up in my head like a Christmas tree. So while at the Stanley Hotel, I remembered how King wrote about where his ideas came from.

Many people, non-writers in particular, often wonder how writers become inspired. King came up with The Shining after spending the night in that haunted hotel in Estes Park. But even he says that you don’t have to go through great lengths to come up with a plot. Suzanne Collins came up with the idea for The Hunger Games while watching TV.

The key is to simply ask, “What if?”

What if a recovering alcoholic spent the winter alone with his family in a haunted hotel? What if in the future, there was one group of people who controlled the wealth and found a way to bring back gladiator style games? What if one of Turlough O’ Carolan’s guides got stuck in present day and began to remind people about who he really was? This last “what if” was how I started The Stone of Kings.

What about you? How do you get inspired to write? Does it wake you in the night? Does it hit you while you’re doing the dishes? Or have you had to go across your country?

6 thoughts on “How To Get Inspired – Part 1

  1. It just happens. Like something flowing through me rather than something that comes from me. It’s a mindset and a way of looking at the world. For example, my son woke me up the other night to investigate a strange noise outside. Once outside, we saw a strange flashing light in the far distance. He wondered aloud what it was. I suggested it was aliens who had created a noise near our trash can to lure us outside to abduct us. Then I immediately started down a story line in my head. It’s not inspiration. It’s just a way of being in the world.

    Glad you enjoyed Estes Park. One of my favorite places here in the Rockies. 🙂

    1. Love it Piper! I’m new to novel writing, having always done poetry and short stories when I was young. Since I started the longer stuff I’m finding that ideas come easier. Hopefully they’ll come as easy as that one day 🙂

      Loved the Rockies and Estes Park! I’d never been that far West before and can’t wait to go back (with better hiking boots).

  2. Once, long before I was trained as a shaman, I was unknowingly assigned a haunted room in a hotel. One of the worst nights of my life! If that happened to me now, I’d probably try to help the ghost journey to the other side. For writing inspiration, I much prefer walks with my dog!

    1. LOL Ariella! Jim Carey stayed in one of the more haunted rooms at the Stanley while they were filming Dumb and Dumber there. The ghost scared him so much that he won’t talk about it and won’t go back voluntarily. I didn’t encounter any ghosts during the tour, but I don’t think I’m a very receptive person in that manner. lol

  3. In the shower, while curling (the game), playing a video game, listening to music, painting a picture, sitting on my deck drinking coffee… just about anything anywhere inspires me, but it usually smacks me upside the head unexpectedly. (All of my examples were real ones for something I’ve written)

    1. Inspiration striking in the shower is frustrating. There you are dripping wet but you’ve just got to write it down! Lol I once had a friend who was struck with a poem in the kitchen and had nothing to write it with but a bottle of squeezable mustard. She wrote the poem on the floor with it.

      Curling…that’s one I’ll have to figure out one day. 😉

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