As we ramp up towards November, we here at HQ are finding inspiration everywhere. It’s so much on our minds, that we’ve asked some friends of NaNoWriMo to keep an Inspiration Diary, and share where their plot bunnies are roaming thickest.
First up? Kevin Kaiser, whose new guide to writing a novel in 30 days, @WriMo, is coming out on October 1:
Right now, I’m co-authoring a series of novels with a writer who has thirty-some odd titles to his credit. A typical day gobbles up everything in the imagination tank. Turns out, I need a constant flow of inspiration to keep going, and I usually stumble on it in places both unlikely and pop-cultured.
6:46 a.m. Morning walk through the neighborhood. Walks are underrated; motion gets the imagination cranked up.
Halfway home, a tailless squirrel scampers into the street. Stops, stares at me with black, marble eyes. I’m pretty sure he’s jonesing for a fight. He’s also missing part of an ear. Bad news. I back away and take another way home.
7:17 a.m. Epiphany in the shower: pitch the idea of a demon squirrel during storyboarding session with my co-author later this morning. It’s perfect, oh so perfect.
8:01 a.m. Enjoyed breakfast, but the brain’s running on fumes. A local espresso roast from Drew’s Brews fits the bill. As every writer knows, the seeds of inspiration are best nourished with a steady flow of caffeine.
8:24 a.m. Music! Bring me music! What is this? A new video of Mumford & Sons at Red Rocks is on YouTube? Yes, please. Can’t wait for this album. Can’t. Wait.
12:43 p.m. Morning storyboarding phone call ends. Amped up, but my brain feels like a wet towel that’s been wrung out. Time for lunch and some more music. Gotta keep those juices flowing (links go to Spotify):
1:20 p.m. I stare at my computer screen, unable to form a coherent sentence. More music. When I write I either need full-on silence or soundtracks. Today’s genre of choice: Epic. I crank up the afternoon playlist medley and thumb through my Turn of Phrase Book in search of some cool ways to describe a sunrise.
- The Avengers soundtrack by Alan Silvestri
- The Dark Knight soundtrack by Hans Zimmer
- Inception soundtrack by Hans Zimmer
3:47 p.m. Gazing out the window, letting my mind wander. Sometimes it circles back on itself, other times it comes across a nugget of an idea.
Tailless squirrel is across the street watching my house. Note to self: Do not leave the house tomorrow. And no, of course the squirrel isn’t the product of a wandering imagination.
4:15 p.m. Completely torched so I retreat to man’s greatest literary invention: comics. I bust open B.P.R.D.: 1947, Issue #1. Mike Mignola possesses so much genius. After finishing the first issue, I promptly devour the next four in quick order and make another note on a Post-It: Scratch demon squirrel idea. We need a hell spawn. Something bigger. A wolverine or maybe a man-sized opossum.
6:32 p.m. My wife and eight-year-old daughter head out to a young reader’s book club. I have the house to myself so I take in a few episodes of the second season of Fringe. It’s one of the most underrated shows out and I wish it were sticking around.
9:15 p.m. Grab a snack and settle in for a movie date with my wife. Super 8 by J.J. Abrams. It reminded me of how I felt when I first watched E.T., which is what I think he was going for. Nostalgia.
If it’s OK to have a man-crush, mine is J.J. Abrams. When I was in SoCal last year for a book tour, I went out of my way to find the Bad Robot production studio just so I could get a picture in front of it. True story.
Inspired by the brilliance in Super 8, I tee up J.J. Abrams’ TED talk on storytelling as a “must watch” for the morning. I’ve seen it maybe a dozen times already, but who’s counting? It’s J.J. after all.
11:46 p.m. Wind down the night with some light reading. Intensity by Dean Koontz, which is, in my opinion, the consummate thriller by a consummate wordsmith.
Stephen King is right, all writers need to read as much as they can. Gotta make more time, I think; tomorrow’s another day.
Kevin Kaiser is a writer and producer. His latest project, @WriMo: A 30-Day Survival Guide for Writers, is a book designed to help NaNoWriMo participants stay inspired during the month of November. 100% of the profits from the book go to supporting NaNoWriMo and other writing programs.
Keep up with Kevin: