My friends who know me, I mean really know me, keep asking where I got the idea to start writing picture books. “Where did you get the idea for a monster needing a costume?” They would ask. In a bit of a condescending way I might add, which I kind of deserve. Like I said they really know me. And I would tell them.
I stole it.
It’s true. From the mouths of babes, like candy from a baby, I plagiarized my 4 yr old daughter. Plagiarized might actually be a bit strong she can barely write her own name. But to be honest the idea came from my daughter. With this simple phrase from her:
“My Monster needs a haircut.”
I became inspired.
So I wrote it down, and I kept on writing. When I was finished with the first book I kept on writing “Monster needs” themed books. The idea seemed so simple I wondered how I never thought of it before. Then it occurred to me. I was too busy over thinking and I was missing what was going on around me. Books are written every day. We just need to open our eyes and our ears so that we can watch and listen to them unfold around us. Here is another example, on my way out from dropping my daughter off at daycare; I passed a child who said, “This is my tired walk.” The second I heard that phrase I loved it, and I wrote this piece:
This is my tired walk.
My ankles are tired
My knees are tired.
My shoulders are tired.
Even my hair is tired.
It’s my tired…tired…walk.
And it’s all because of a bunny and a hotdog.
Now I don’t know where this is going just yet and it may not go anywhere. But what I do know is a good line when I hear it. “This is my tired walk” is a good line.
This is what inspiration is all about. You don’t know where or when it’s going to hit but you have to be aware of it when it does. If I had to give a piece of advice to a writer who has writers block, or just can’t seem to come up with that great idea, I would tell them to stop trying! Go out and observe the world around you, not from the bushes mind you let’s not get creepy about it. But if you allow yourself to see and hear the everyday happenings of the world I think you’ll be amazed at the flood of ideas that come to you.