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Striking Inspiration

Buried in the Slushpile

As creatives, we often have no shortage of ideas. In fact, one of the challenges can be sticking to an idea and seeing it all the way through to the end. I don’t know how many times I’ve been mid-book only to get what feels like an even better, more interesting idea.

Sometimes inspiration strikes you.

But sometimes you have to strike it.

There are times when you look at all the ideas you’ve had, all those ideas that seemed genius in the moment, and the thought of turning that into a children’s book leaves you just kind of meh. That’s when you need to actively seek out a new idea.

You have to strike out and create your own inspiration.

So where do you look?

Literally everywhere. Everything, even the most mundane thing can inspire you in some way. But that is perhaps not the most helpful of advice.

So, if you find yourself stuck, staring into space, then you’re going to one to start in one of two places:

·  Your main character or

·  Your world

If you are starting with your main character, then who is this person? And what do they want?

Right now, my dog is curled up next to me taking a nap. So, let’s pretend I want to write a story about her. So, we’ll call her Dog, and she could want any number of things. She’s part lab with a bottomless stomach. She could want food. She’s currently napping. She could want a better bed, specifically she could want to trade beds with the humans. There are so many relatable stories I could tell from picture book through middle grade just about my one dog.

And if you are starting with your world, then what is that place like? What are the rules that run it?

I don’t mean that you have to create an epic fantasy world or an alien planet. Your world could be a high school drama club. The rules could be that what happens in drama is the drama. Or maybe, the queen bee that de facto runs it has decided that only she gets to be the star. Everyone else has to figure out their supporting roles around her.

All of that was stuff that I came up with off the top of my head while writing this. In fact, I stopped halfway through this article to go start a picture book idea I had – starring my dog.

I know that you have a treasure trove of inspiration just waiting to be revealed. Next time you get stuck, just spend a second or two searching through it. You’ll be surprised by what you might find.

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