About Writers, blogging, inspiration, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Inspiration’s Elbow

Inspiration is the gentle pressure that sends writers into a fictional world of interesting people and situations. These nudges are as varied as creativity can make them. We know it can be anything, come from anywhere or nowhere. It’s unpredictable. Some writers might get a good idea if they were busy falling down an elevator shaft.

J.R.R. TOLKIEN was grading college exam papers, and midway through the stack he came across a gloriously blank sheet. Tolkien wrote down the first thing that randomly popped into his mind: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” He had no idea what a hobbit was or why it lived underground, and so he set out to solve the mystery.*

As he lay on a sofa after dinner, LEO TOLSTOY had a vision of an elbow. The image expanded into a melancholy woman in a ball gown. The mysterious lady haunted Tolstoy and he eventually decided to write her story, Anna Karenina.*

(*See more examples by Celia Johnson https://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/the-ideas-that-inspired-the-hobbit-animal-farm-8-other-famous-books)

What has nudged your creativity? Where have some of your own ideas come from? Tell us in the comments?


11 thoughts on “Inspiration’s Elbow

  1. brandsnovels says:

    What nudged my creativity besides wanting to create my own world to escape my reality was the spiritual life I had always been in awe of to this day. Where do we go from here is a question that has, for many years, lingered in my mind and since my characters realized this interest of mine, took it from there.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 2 people

    • GD Deckard says:

      “Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
      Before us pass’d the door of Darkness through,
      Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
      Which to discover we must travel too.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeannie Abbott says:

    Inspiration comes to me when I have a topic for “homework” in the creative writing groups. Anything from “Host a dinner party and invite anyone, living or dead” or seeing a sign on a business for sale, “No Dreamers Please.” We have hundreds of titles – I can write something about all of them! It may not be earth shattering but ….

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Perry Palin says:

    My inspiration comes from children and neighbors and friends, all storytellers. An anecdote, sometimes just a phrase, will spark a story.

    Last week I attended an author event hosted by the local public library. The author worked hard and lucky to build his writing career. He has been on the New York Times Bestseller List, 100 people attended this small town reading, the sponsors paid him a lot of dough to speak and he had a chance of course to sell books. I bought two. He said his inspiration came from a balding man sitting in a leather office chair one town over, the banker who held his mortgage, and who would take his house if he didn’t make a payment every month.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. mimispeike says:

    Where do I get inspiration? It’s like a bird pooping on your head. You have to be in the right place (mentally) at the right time. I’ve been searching for a title for my very last chapter (of new material, then I have to connect it to already written stuff) and I’ve been at a loss. After worrying over it for three days – I have a series of question marks for a title until now – the bird has finally pooped on my head. I have the perfect title. Perfect! I won’t say what it is. You’ll have to find out for yourself.

    Perfect! Couldn’t be better. I’ll have this chapter done in a day or so. Then I have to tweak what follows, find the things that are repetitive or don’t quite agree. These two segments have to meet seamlessly, like when they build the Chunnel.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hahaha! Mimi, I completely identify with the title quandary. I usually find the perfect title early in the process, but last week I spent three days cogitating on a short story title and coming up with nothing of value. Then it suddenly struck me, like bird poop, I guess — although I would have described it more as a lightning bolt, but less deadly.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Have not gotten any ideas while falling down an elevator shaft.  (Maybe I should fall down more elevator shafts.)  Inspiration does come at odd times.  It is rarely a gentle elbow nudge.  More like dropping a cinder block on my foot, it pushes aside whatever I had in mind when picked up the block.

        *Stale Bread Can Wait*
            My muse is stingy (when implored)
            or really bitchy (when ignored).
            When I want to sing of croutons
            (but her fancy turns to plutons),
            I have just one way to go:
            with the mighty magma flow.

    Liked by 2 people

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