Where do your ideas come from?
As a writer, people always ask, "Where do you get your ideas, your inspiration, for what you write?" Shhhh ... I'll let you in on a little secret. Since I am a writer and I'm supposed to write, I ask myself the very same question every day, only I just ask it a little differently, "What the hell am I going to write about today?" For the most part, though, I do have a few things I draw on for inspiration. Maybe if I share mine, you'll share yours, and then we'll both have a leg up on inspiration.
With poetry I write for children, the inspiration often comes from my own childhood experiences or those of my siblings. I've always found it easier to write about what I know or remember -- like the awe and wonder of just being a child, or from questions I had about the world and how or why things were the way they were.
Inspiration also comes from my children, grandchildren, or other kids I know or have known. When students during school visits ask me where I get my ideas, I tell them I get some of my ideas from them. For instance, when they ask whether I have a poem about a unicorn, a dolphin or a fire truck and I don't, it often spurs me to try and write one.
When I'm really desperate, I play a mental game with myself that I call "mind candy". With this, I take a pencil and paper and make five headings, each with one of the five senses. Then I start listing things I like about each of them under its heading. When I have several in each column, I draw a line across the paper and, under that, list the things I dislike about each of the senses. The list is very literal, i.e., what tastes, feels, smells, sounds, looks good, or bad?
Feel: Good: kitten fur; sun on face
Feel: Bad: itchy; tangles
Smell: Good: flowers; perfume
Smell: Bad: skunk; feet
Sound: Good: music; waterfall
Sound: Bad: screeching; baby crying
Taste: Good: cookies; popcorn
Taste: Bad: medicine; liver
Sight: Good: rainbow; sunset
Sight: Bad: spiders; house on fire
At other times, I take it in another direction entirely and I use my feelings to make the lists, i.e., what tastes, touches, smells, sounds, looks make me feel good, or bad?
Okay, I'm sure you get the gist of how to play "mind candy". Now it's your turn to share. Where do you get your inspiration as a writer?