One of the most common questions readers ask authors is where their ideas come from. There are many different answers to this. Some authors refer to places or experiences where they find inspiration. Others name their influences, usually other authors. These answers are humble, and in my opinion, completely untrue.
Because inspiration and influences are not the same as ideas. Inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere, if you look hard enough. Influences are piled up on our bedside table and in our electronic devices. These things exist in the world around us.
Ideas are products of a creative mind.
There are people who could sit at a screen, typing, for the rest of their lives and never produce anything anyone else would want to read. There are also people with an innate ability to take something that inspires them and turn it into something that inspires others.
The difference is creativity.
Inspiration + Creativity = Ideas
There are all kinds of writing-related skills you can learn, rules you can follow and processes you can use. But only a creative person is ever going to produce a great work of fiction. Creativity can be nurtured but it cannot be learned.
What amazes me is how many ideas there are in books. To come up with not just an idea, but an idea that is different from all the others, is a remarkable thing. But every author is different, so every author’s ideas are different, and that’s what makes books so interesting.
I’m grateful for a world full of inspiration, and for all the authors I admire, but above all I’m grateful for the creative spark that allows me to contribute something unique.
Deborah Grant-Dudley is the author of The Lost Mysteries series, available in paperback and Kindle edition on Amazon.