Mining for Ideas

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I’m confident that everyone who writes has been asked on more than one occasion, “Where do you get your ideas?”
Even when I expect it, that question always makes me freeze. When I finally thaw, I hem and haw, shift from one foot to the other, scrunch my face, followed by a long exhale…you would think I was in pain. And I kind of am. Because try as I might, I cannot for the life of me come up with a good, concrete answer.

The truth is, ideas are literally everywhere. My fear is not having enough time to write all the stories that pop into my head. All the scenes I want to flesh out, all the characters through which I want to live vicariously, all the things I want to research to put into a book…well, you get the idea. I’ve had people tell me, “Hey, I’ve got this fabulous idea for a book. You should write it for me.” I give them a blank stare and then I cough, buying some time before I’m finally able to speak. “Uh, yeah,” I say, “as soon as I finish with all of the ideas I already have.” In other words, not in this lifetime.

Writers are day dreamers, night dreamers, creative thinkers, even when we’re not aware of it. I will sometimes hear something or witness something seemingly unimportant, but then remember it days or weeks down the road when it’s making its way into my WIP.

My ears perk up when I hear people squabbling in the grocery store line, Starbucks, or any public place. I listen to husbands and wives interacting with each, siblings of all ages, and words between friends. The best of all? Two strangers who strike up a conversation as they’re waiting for time to pass, whether in line somewhere or in a doctor’s office waiting room. It’s amazing what two people will tell each other in a public place when they’re oblivious to the fact that they’re surrounded by others.

Now, I don’t so much care about the words these people say, but rather the way they say them, their tone. I also try to sneak a peek (sneak, so I don’t come across as being a creeper) at their facial expressions and body language. It’s those moments captured, incorporating them into a character, that makes a character believable and come to life. It’s those nuances that give characters necessary layers.

Another thing I do is carry a little Sony digital recorder when I’m running, walking, or driving. Or any other time it isn’t possible to carry a notebook or safely write. It’s then that ideas pop into my head and I need to capture them before they disappear. I’ve learned a long time ago that even if the idea is so monumental I think there’s no way I could ever forget it, it still escapes me nearly every time. I get busy, life happens, and the idea is a whisper in the wind.

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So, go exercise that creative brain, take advantage of those night dreams and daydreams, and be careful what you say the next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store. If there’s a writer anywhere in the near vicinity, you’ll end up in a book.

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
—Virginia Woolf

Hodge Podge and Update

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I’ve been a bit of a slacker lately. Although, I guess slacker isn’t an accurate term. Life has been exceptionally busy, but I’m so grateful that I’ve got a good life to live. My son was the passenger in a car that was totaled in an accident two days ago and he came out of it with nothing more than an injured shoulder. And that injury is already healing nicely. Some people say he’s lucky. I say he’s beyond blessed. God was also in the car with him that day. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that my sisters and I have an ongoing prayer challenge where we find a stranger to pray for each day. I believe my son was somebody’s stranger that day.

My book, Shear Madness, is doing better than I expected, and on September 5th I have a book signing at the book store in the town where I live. I’ve ordered my book postcards, flyers, and pens with the name of the book and my name, which are due to arrive tomorrow. It feels like tomorrow is Christmas morning. 🙂

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Tomorrow brings with it a weekend trip to the mountains with lots of trails to run, elk that roam freely, and eagles flying overhead. And did I mention a Starbucks that sits just off the riverwalk by the creek? I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the live entertainment by said creek on Friday night. It’s sheer heaven listening to folk music with mountains on every side of us, breathing deeply of the fresh mountain air. A perfect place to drive creativity to all new heights. With that renewed creativity comes the time to lounge outside working on my current novel, Finding Abby.  Complete joy! 🙂

Estes, 8.1.14 029 Have yourselves a beautiful weekend.

 

A Glorious Sunday Drive

 On my bike.

As strange as this may sound, there’s nothing more relaxing to me than a long bike ride on a beautiful Sunday morning. Of course by the time the 30-mile ride is done, there’s nothing more relaxing than being back home, showered, with a bowl of popcorn and an A&W 10. 🙂

The half-way mark, or the destination where we turn and make the journey back home, holds an REI, Starbucks, and park by the river.  Those things in and of themselves will get me out of bed and on my bike.

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It’s while my feet and legs are pushing the pedals that turn the bike tires, that my mind turns, creating ideas for writing, and connects in conversation with God.

How can one not quickly develop a heart of gratitude for over-the-top blessings when those blessings surround me, filling all of my senses as I drink in the beauty of wildlife and vegetation, and as I inhale the aromas of the flowers, water and trees. I try to avoid the taste of an occasional bug or two, however.

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Even those things that are not extraordinary and go unnoticed on a daily basis, draw a smile on my face.

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A wild turkey? And my first thought wasn’t “Thanksgiving Dinner,” but “Magical.”

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Can’t you just smell the sweet aroma of cherry?

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This little guy was watching me as closely as I was watching him. 🙂

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Unlike babbling voices, there’s nothing quite so serene as a babbling brook.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
— Rachel Carson
As I mentioned in a precious post, I’m heading off to Camp Tuesday morning–Camp NaNo. And it’s there I will get to explore unlimited nature as I create worlds and places yet unknown.  It’s not too late to come along.  🙂