When Inspiration Strikes

What do you do when inspiration strikes, when your muse speaks to you? (Sidebar: I hate calling things “my muse”) Most of the time inspiration doesn’t show up when you want it to. You get a bit of free time. You sit down, ready to bust out a thousand words or so, but then nothing comes to mind. You don’t know what to write about. The monolithic blank page scares you so instead you waste some time on Twitter or going through pages on Reddit. Then your time’s up and guess what? You got nothing done. Thanks for not showing up, Inspiration.

Personally, I tend to come up with ideas at the weirdest times. The situation I just described above rarely happens to me. Not because I’m an amazing writer, full of ideas all the time. It’s just that I don’t try to write without a plan already in mind. But where do these plans come from? Weird places and strange times. The shower for instance. I’ll be taking my morning shower and bam! I’ve got an idea for a short story. Or what about when I’m falling asleep? I love and hate when that happens. I have to get up and write my ideas down or–what usually happens–text my ideas to myself so they’ll be on my phone in the morning.

I swear I’m trying to go somewhere with this post. Inspiration shows up unannounced. I write down my ideas so I don’t forget them. Then I try to use those ideas. A real life example: I’m working on a short story right now tentatively titled “Land Swimmers.” The idea came to me as I was falling asleep a few weeks ago. Instantly I knew that I had to do something about it or I’d forget it in the morning. I sent myself two texts and I’m so glad I did. Oh, the actual image/thought that sparked everything? “Giant worms that come out when it rains. Jump out of the ground like dolphins.” Yup. That’s where “Land Swimmers” is coming from.

What about all you other writers? What’s the weirdest time/place that inspiration has hit you? What’d you do when that happened?

Project Name: “Land Swimmers” (working title)

Deadline: 6/20/11

Word count: 1,663