Inspiration is an elusive thing; a will-o’-the-wisp that dissipates as you approach. But this week I feel like I’ve won the jackpot as I’ve managed to grab hold of that bright light not once but twice!
When I wrote my last post about attending The People’s Books Prize Awards, I said that I came away itching to start writing again. Well, it didn’t happen for a while. Maybe I needed to come down from that euphoric cloud I’d been on. I’ve been researching my new book for a long time but the story and the characters have been trapped inside me not knowing how to find their way out. I was worried it would never happen. On Tuesday I went into Cambridge to do some more research. I came away not having found what I’m looking for, which is quite frustrating. That afternoon I heard a voice in my head – the voice of one of my characters! I knew who it was and I was shocked by what he said but I knew I had to write it down. The first 350 words tumbled out onto the screen. I’d made a start. The saying goes, ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’. I have several tens of thousands more words to write, but now I’ve ‘met’ my characters and know who they are as people, I can move forward and plan things out a bit better. I ought to say at this stage that it’s not another book in the Agnil’s Worlds series this time but something completely different. I shan’t give away too much right now as the seed is only just germinating.
The second inspiration came from the blog of my friend, Lou Minns, who, along with her family, is taking up an idea from author/illustrator, Chris Riddell, the newly announced Children’s Laureate in his ‘Five Point Plan’. Lou and her family are planning to do a daily drawing which she will upload to her blog for the period of a month.
I haven’t picked up a pencil in many years but I do have drawing materials around the house left behind by my three highly talented and artistic children when they left home. When I read Lou’s blog I immediately dug out a sketchbook and discovered I had a beautiful chunky sketching pencil. What to draw, though? I happened to be sitting in the garden eating breakfast at the time so I headed straight for one of my favourite flowers, Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella). In the past I have loved photographing this amazing flower and have a whole set of them on my Flickr photostream. This is the first one I ever took.
They self-seed like a weed around my garden but I leave them as I love them so much. I picked one and brought it over to the bench where I was sitting. Half an hour later I had drawn this.
Can I pledge to do a drawing a day for a month… or more? I don’t know, but I’m going to try. It’ll be difficult to post them every day so I may only do that once a week or so. It’s very therapeutic and a great incentive to move away from the computer screen for a while each day… though not for too long as I have a book to write! 🙂