Getting Outside

We writers are a focused bunch. Focused and determined. I’ve had many a conversation with fellow writer friends about how consumed we can become in this whole writing thing. With blogging and working on stories and writer forums and brainstorming about new story ideas, one can easily spend as much or more time in this “world” than we do in the real one.

With the completion of Searcher, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to work on next. I think it’s safe to say that I was constantly thinking about it, batting around new ideas, tinkering with old ones. However, I kept running into a brick wall. It seemed the harder I tried to dig for a plan, the more muddled I became.

Then came this last week. I left the writing world for several days to focus instead on turkey and pie and big family game nights. I didn’t think much, if at all, about writing.

And you know what? Last night, out of the clear blue sky, with the whole writing world frankly miles away from my mind, an Idea struck me.

It’s been a good lesson for me. See, ideas should come from life. They should be inspired by our experiences and relationships. But the problem is, sometimes we writers are so focused in our world of writerly techniques and queries and researching the market and book deals and social networking with other writers that without realizing it, we’ve closed ourselves off to that life wherein the true ideas come.

So to any writer out there struggling with where to go and what to do, I would say: go live your life, and sooner than you might think that inspiration will find you.



  1. Patti on November 30, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Great Advice, sometimes all it takes is a break.

  2. V. S on November 30, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Very true.

  3. melane on November 30, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    How true! Most of my ideas come to me when I’m doing something that’s not writing-related. The spark for my WIP came to me when I was taking the kids to school and we were listening to a trivia contest.

  4. Natalie Whipple on November 30, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Yup, doing “nothing” is the best way to find ideas:) Well, at least it’s MY favorite way.

  5. Candice on November 30, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    I find ideas when I get really super tired from “living life.” Translation: crazy vacations, late night dates, spending time with family, and getting super slap happy all inspire me big time! Fortunately so do trials and difficult life decisions. I say fortunately since those are the times when I need a creative outlet.

  6. Renee Collins on November 30, 2009 at 8:39 pm



    Melane-Exactly! This idea came when I was watching a movie with my kids.

    Natalie-Yeah, ideas can be rather accommodating in that way. 🙂

    Candice-I can definitely see that. I think when we feel strong emotions, like happiness or sorrow, our minds are more open to inspiration.

  7. Kasie West on November 30, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    I completely agree. I would also add that sometimes solutions to the problem I’m having with my WIP come when I step away and give my brain a break. Sometimes I think staring at something and thinking about it and trying to fix it too much is counterproductive.

  8. Miriam S.Forster on December 1, 2009 at 1:10 am

    So true! I’d love to be a full-time author, but even if I get there, I think I’d like to keep a part-time job.

    I think interacting with the world keeps us grounded, we are better able to write people as the complicated messes that they are instead of what we think they should be.

  9. Mary on December 1, 2009 at 2:50 am

    very good advice. Are characters are much more well rounded when we are too.

  10. Natalie on December 1, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Excellent advice Renee! I think sometimes we get way to caught up in our indoor lives (I know I do). I’m always amazed at the inspiration that comes my way when I get out and do something new.

  11. Tere Kirkland on December 1, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    They say truth is stranger than fiction for a reason– it’s where all the good ideas come from. Glad to hear things are looking good for your next WiP.

  12. Tere Kirkland on December 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Morning, Renee!

    I’m a daydreamer, I’ll be the first to admit it.

    And please stop by my blog. You’ll get an award! 😉

  13. sanjeet on December 23, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I was taking the kids to school and we were listening to a trivia contest.
    Work from home India