Finding Inspiration

Snoopy's Night Idea
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A question writers (and other types of artists) often get is “Where do you find your inspiration?” I honestly get mine from everywhere. My family. My friends. My coworkers. My surroundings. My travels. My experiences. My fears. My doubts. My successes. You get the picture?

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As far as inspiration goes, everything you consume is material. Movies you watch, novels you read, music you hear, conversations you overhear, the human emotions and actions you witness. You can create a story for the situations you encounter.

Why is the man screaming at the store clerk? Well, maybe his father just died, and he’s having trouble dealing with it. Why is the woman crying at the bus stop? Well, maybe she just spent the last of her money on medication and doesn’t have enough money left to pay rent. There are endless possibilities with stories because no two authors will tell stories in the same way.

Good writing practice is to find a headline in a newspaper (printed or online) and retell the story with great details about what happened before or after the story. There are also some books with writing prompts that are helpful to get into the habit of writing every day if you need that kind of discipline. *I am not a writer to writes every day. I only write when I am inspired or have a strict deadline (in the case of writing for my day job at a university). I find that forcing myself to write when I am not inspired causes a headache and a lot of junk that I end up cutting out during the editing process.

Another good way to practice writing is to find a song that you love and write a story or poem to go along with it. How does the song make you feel? Who or what is the song about?

I think about things I’ve read and wonder how the stories could be different. I think about situations my friends have experienced and how their stories could be told in different ways. Many of my stories feature characters who have certain traits I’ve taken from friends, family, or myself. It makes my characters feel real to me, and hopefully to my readers. This is especially true with showing the characters’ flaws. In fiction, flaws make the characters feel real to me. It’s the flaws and human emotion conveyed that make me what to jump into the pages (or through the e-reader screen) to hug the character.

There is inspiration all around you if you look for it or let it find you. I keep a notebook beside my bed in case I get an idea in the middle of the night. So many of my ideas just come to me in my dreams, or while considering the “what ifs” of life as I’m trying to fall asleep after I’ve exhausted myself reading or playing word games on my phone.

For more information on the types of written content I produce, read more: Continue reading

Eighteen years later

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“Eighteen Years Later” Free-Verse Poetry, 9-23-17

My inability to hate you
Is the biggest detriment in my adult life.
I was young and inexperienced,
Putty in your hands,
Moldable and folding myself over and over again
Until there was almost nothing left.

I want to sever the insatiable connection to you,
Because it still hurts that you didn’t feel it too.
Losing you damn near killed me.
I thought I knew what love was,
But you said I didn’t.
You were wrong; I knew everything.

-Brandi Easterling Collins

Echoes

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“Echoes” Free-Verse, July-August 2017

Your ghost follows me around,
haunting and taunting me.
I don’t know if I miss you,
or the me I was before you.

Through the window,
I catch a glimpse of you behind the trees—
a shadow of who you once were to me,
still frozen in time.

Trapped inside these walls
are lies I’ve tried to ignore,
bubbling up in the peeling paint,
all these years later.

Echoes of past conversations
bleed in my ears
while I scream over the noise
of what is now silent.

Living in parallels,
I guide the me I once was to escape
the darkness into safety and light,
though I once let you take it all.

-Brandi Easterling Collins