Saturday, September 12, 2009

Waiting for Inspiration

By Keith Fisher

“Where do you get your ideas?” I think everyone has been asked that question. It inevitably seems to follow the announcement that you are a writer. I suppose, everyone who dabbles in artistic expression whether they paint, design, or make rock art, fields that question.

Back in 1980, After working as a carpenter/house builder, I decided to become an architect. I enrolled in the Drafting and Design program at UVCC. As plans often are, mine were interrupted by a sudden desire to serve a mission for the LDS Church. I was twenty-six, and I got married right after returning home.

I never became and architect, but I started a part time, home design business. Some of the houses in my area started out in my head. People asked me where I got my ideas. Of course my designs were pretty standard, and they followed traditional building practices of the time. I did, however, put something original into each one.

To make a long story short, (too late), I don’t design houses anymore, because what I did, can be done by any homeowner with a computer. I still play with home design, though, and I’ve re-designed my house many times. It releases creative energy. For a brief moment, I’m back building walls and walking through the house on my computer screen.

It had been a while, but I sat down the other day, and redesigned the deck I’ve been planning for years. It took me away from the daily grind, and I escaped into the world or house, I had created. It made me think of last week’s blog and my reasons for escaping into the worlds I invent in my stories.

Creative release takes me back to the safe world of childhood. When I played make believe. Perhaps this is the answer to the question. For me, ideas come at unusual times, and in strange places. The idea for my book, Brother’s Keeper, came while sitting in church. The whole story, beginning, middle, and end suddenly popped into my head. I began the outline. I wrote the prologue (almost verbatim as it is now), before the meeting ended. It was a great game of make believe.

You see, playing make believe is the key. I loved the game as a child, and I never stopped playing it. I play it every time I design a house, and I play it, when I plot a story. I have a million story ideas in my head, and I know how each one plays out. The problem for me is writing them correctly.

If you’re a writer who writes correctly, I hate you . . . just kidding. Seriously though, If you have trouble plotting, and you’re waiting for inspiration, try making believe. If you can’t remember how to play, ask your children to teach you.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.


Tristi Pinkston said...

Make believe is an awesome game. I used to put myself to sleep that way as a child, just letting my imagination run away with me. Now, as an author, it really does help.

Sande said...

Ain't that the truth {see you can't hate me :}

Watching my kids expressing themselves, I can see that it all STOPS when I tell them they 'have to', when I give them 'criteria', when I put boundaries or protocol around their outworking.

Creativity grows in the 'want too's' of life.

L.T. Elliot said...

Make believe is a wonderful way to find my way back into creativity. Another great post, Keith.