Thursday, September 24, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions 4

Where do you get your ideas?

I guess all creative types get this question, to such an extent that it’s become a cliché. Kids don’t know it’s a cliché, though, so I try to answer it as best I can: I get my ideas in the same way you get yours–they’re a product of everything I’ve ever seen and heard and thought and felt. They’re influenced by books I read, things I watch, conversations I’ve had or even just overheard. I think the trick is not in worrying about your next idea so much as just having your arms open to it when it arrives. It’ll come around the mountain when it comes.

I believe there are unspoken questions that people are really asking when they ask “Where do you get your ideas,” however. I think the adults in particular are usually asking, “How come you can write a book and I can’t?”

Usually the answer is simply, “Because I’ve tried and you haven’t.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been approached by people who want to know how they can become a writer for kids too, and I ask,

“What have you written?”

and they answer,

“Nothing yet,”

and I have to tell them

“Well, try writing a little more than that.”

To those who have already tried to write and think they’ve failed, you might be interested to know that I didn’t finish the first story I tried to write either, or even the fifteenth. Maybe that’ll help, I don’t know.


5 comments:

Brian Biggs said...

Oh please. We all know you get your ideas from Led Zeppelin songs played backwards and from the random rolling of twenty-sided dice.

Me, I get my ideas from France.

Tempestpilot said...

Nooo, don't tell them to write more! Someone gave me a manuscript to proof that said, "One apple. Two penguins. Three goats. Four pies." Now I know this is your fault.

Adam Rex said...

Ixnay Brian, ixnay.

Sorry about that, Tempestpilot. You draw beautifully, by the way.

Tempestpilot said...

fwawrr, I might have to get that printed out and tattooed. Thanks!

girlchild said...

Did Mr. Biggs pay you to write that so he could send it to me and indirectly tell me to shut the hell up and get to it already??

And for the record, I did not write that manuscript, Tempestpilot. But I COULD.