I think, Squiders, that all creative types, especially writers, sometimes hit a point where they worry that they’ve run out of ideas. That they’ve reached the end of useable ones. That their best work is behind them.
(I admit that I feel this way about this blog sometimes, but here we are, two and a half years later…)
Then, luckily, the feeling passes.
It is, however, always a bit disconcerting to go through. I find it’s best, when the mood hits, to think about where you are, and where you’ve come from. Sure, maybe you’re not getting anything right this second, but how long have you been working on things? The first story I can remember writing, I was 8. It’s been two decades–twenty years–now, and if I haven’t run out of ideas yet, why should I ever?
And if you’re really, truly, not getting anything, look at what you’re doing. Are you reading, experiencing, learning? Inspiration can lurk anywhere, from the latest scientific or archeological find written up in National Geographic to the person you see walking down the street, a haunted look in their eyes. How did they get there? What makes their heart ache? What will the effects on society be because of this new discovery?
Hey, that dream you had last night was kind of funky. Maybe there’s something there. Your friend has posted a photo of a forest on facebook that is so perfect it looks fake. What would live there? What secrets do the trees hide?
The fact is, most creative types are also inquisitive types. So many ideas can come from asking questions, and then making up the answer yourself. What if? What if? What if? And the fact of the matter is, there are always more questions. There are always more answers. Your inspiration is out there, as long as you keep one eye open for it.
(If nothing else, you might try diagramming things you like. This is a free association activity, where you write down things that appeal to you as they come to you. My list includes things like mirrors, hidden portals, old keys, labyrinths, ancient places, overgrown forests, etc. And then you can choose a few and combine them into different story ideas.)
What’s your no-fail source of inspiration, Squiders?