Life, Writing

Paws, trails & inspiration


My writing inspiration can strike at unpredictable moments. As I’m falling asleep (better write that stroke of genius down, or you won’t remember it in the morning!), when I’m driving to the store, or sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office… but the one place where I get more writing ideas than any other seems to be when I’m on the trail, walking in the woods with our dog. Something about walking in general, and walking in the forest with a dog in particular, is apparently very conducive to inspiration.

If the idea is really good, I usually whip out my cell-phone and make a note of it there, otherwise I just keep turning the ideas over and over in my head as I walk, trying to let them flow without pinning them down too hard just yet. Ideas have to be allowed to float and flutter a bit before you grab them.

Today, it was a science fiction-ish short story idea that twisted and turned inside my brain, but it’s not quite ready for the outside world just yet. To quote Tove Jansson, in Tales From Moominvalley, when Snusmumriken/Snufkin is thinking about a new tune:

“He had kept this tune under his hat for several days, but hadn’t quite dared to take it out yet. It had to grow into a kind of happy conviction. Then, he would simply have to put his lips to the mouth organ, and all the notes would jump instantly into their places.

If he released them too soon they might get stuck crossways and make only a half-good tune, or he might lose them altogether and never be in the right mood to get hold of them again.”

Black dog

Happy trails of inspiration from me and Jake!

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