Friday Feature 4th July – Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas?

Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas?

So this is my very first one and I thought I’d talk about something that writers get asked a lot is ‘where do your ideas come from?’

I always struggle to answer that one because for the most part they literally seem to come out of thin air. But I have noticed certain times which seem to be better for me, usually the hour before I get up in the morning, where I’m half awake (although I should say this is rare these days as I’m usually woken very early by little people). Also when I’m driving I love to daydream and let my mind wander. Or I might hear something on the TV or radio that will trigger something. And housework is good too (bear with me here people), it seems to be when my mind is occupied doing something mundane like hoovering or hanging out washing that my subconscious gets to take over for a while.

I think writers are always switched on. We are intuitively soaking up ideas all the time and thinking in terms of descriptions. The idea for my latest book The Last Goodbye came from a story a friend told me one day about a woman she knew who discovered that she had an aggressive form of cancer while she was pregnant. She refused to take the treatment offered and unfortunately neither she nor her baby survived. This story really affected me when I heard it and so I decided to explore the dilemma faced if a pregnant woman finds out that she has cancer.

My first book In a Moment was written after I had just become a mother for the first time. I was overwhelmed by the strength of my feelings for my new daughter but was also feeling pretty scared by how much I wanted to protect her. That feeling of vulnerability sowed the seed for In a Moment and then the idea for the storyline came to me one day when I was driving (you see!).

Nearly every writer I know keeps a notebook for jotting down ideas as they come to them. I have loads of notebooks that I like to use and if I think of a nice description, storyline or maybe a good title for a future book, I write it down straight away because I will forget.

Often once you start writing with one idea, lots more will come. New characters jump in from nowhere and start screaming for your attention, subplots start to take shape and this is when the creative process really starts and the fun begins .


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