Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Where do you go for creative inspiration?

This question was asked over at YA Highway this week. This is where I go...


Some people stay far away from Tumblr because the idea of using people’s images without their permission makes them queasy. I totally get it. I do. But for me - someone who loves and collects art - I have actually discovered way more artists using Tumblr than ever before and have bought way more art than ever before because of these discoveries. Anyways, with that said, I make Tumblr blogs for every novel idea I have. For me, it’s a way of organizing unformed ideas. Also, for me, writing and illustrating have always gone hand in hand. So it just makes sense.


It’s the same with music. I curate songs the way I curate illustrations. I buy and collect music sometimes because I just really love it, and sometimes because it really resonates with a story idea or character or setting or theme of a WIP. I make playlists for every novel I write, and then, when I go on long walks to try and work through plot problems, I listen to the songs I’ve specifically chosen for that particular book. It seems to help.


If I’m stuck in a writing project, I'll often go through my shelves, seeking a book. Sometimes it will be a new book that I pick up, but this is rare. More often I'll choose a book I’ve read two or three or four times before, because clearly there’s something there if I’ve read it that many times - something I liked, something that worked. It also forces me out of the knots and tangles of my own stories and into someone else’s. It loosens me up.

The Eastern Shore.

Obviously, this one requires a bit of money, since I presently live in the middle of the continent and need to either fly or drive if I want to get to the ocean. However. This is probably one of my biggest sources of inspiration. Two of my favourite places of all time are Cape Cod (in the fall, when the beaches are bare and all the tourists are mostly gone) and the western shore of Newfoundland (in spring or fall, for the same reason). I’ve been West, to the Pacific ocean, and don’t get me wrong, it’s gorgeous. But it’s not the same as East. It’s the Atlantic I prefer.


This is the last, best thing. Home for me is the farm I grew up on. It’s where the people who I’ve loved longest are. Often, one of the first things I’ll do once arriving home is go on a kind of “pilgrimage” to all the sacred places of my childhood. The barn. The pond. The forest steps. There is so much complexity found in this place I have known and which has known me in all the various stages of my life that it’s difficult to not be inspired there. Besides, one day it might not be there to go back to, so I have to soak it all up now. Or as much as I can, at least.

Where do you go for creative inspiration?


  1. When I read other YA books it reminds me of ultimate goal. That keeps me going. Great post thanks for sharing.

  2. I love the idea of a pilgramage to your childhood. Really cool.