Janet Sumner Johnson
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The Source of Inspiration

Jan

13, 2014 |

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Since I actively joined the blogosphere, way back forever
ago, I’ve gotten to know a lot of other writers. One of the things I love
learning is where they draw their inspiration from.

Last week, Kimberly Afe talked about her inspiration for her
book, The Headhunter’s Race. A Zelda commercial, and poof! idea.

My awesome friend, Amy Sonnichsen, talked about her inspiration for
Red Butterfly (S&S, 2015!!) HERE. Her sympathy for another’s plight led to a
beautiful story.

J.K. Rowling dreamed of a boy with a lightning-shape scar,
and Stephanie Meyer dreamed of vampires. Inspiration that served them well.

The very first book I wrote was inspired by a longing to
return to my youth. To an easier, more carefree time. I’d just turned 19 which
(for a reason completely unknown to me now) was a huge deal to me. I was a
freshman in college, living on my own, having to be totally responsible for
myself. I had no one pushing me to do what needed doing.

And I remembered. Remembered the carefree days of exploring
the jungle of our backyard ditch. Of racing off on my bicycle with my brother
to go dig in the empty lot around the corner. And I wanted it back. The book
was a joy to write, because I just relived all the wonderfully crazy moments of
my childhood. I even included the awful ones that now make me giggle: getting
trampled by the whole soccer field; getting thrown in the ditch by my sister.

When I rewrote it (as my 3rd book), my inspiration came from
the present instead of the past. Foreclosures were popping up everywhere, and I
couldn’t help wondering how kids were handling it. I needed an outlet to express myself. The two ideas morphed, and
it became my first query-able book.

I was thrilled when I finally “finished,” but I
was worried . . . where in the world I would find another book idea?

Which now makes me laugh. Because they come at me from
everywhere. A cold became the idea for a humorous MG. A scary dream became an idea for an MG Horror. A horrible real-life
event became an idea for a YA Contemporary. A Wedding Dinner in France became
the idea for a novel set in France. My soccer team became the idea for a work
of adult fiction. They come at me so fast, I know I’ll never actually write
many of them.

But that’s okay. Because some ideas rise to the top. And the
best ideas will get written because they keep on inspiring until they must be put on paper for the world to see.

That’s the way inspiration works. At least for me.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Speak up:

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