Where the ideas come from…

Today on the blog, the lovely Saoirse O’Mara stopped by to pen a guest post about where the ideas come from when she’s writing. Saoirse is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books, writing for children and Young Adults, as well as reference books on topics covering everything from learning vocabulary to networking. She’s bilingual and lives in Germany. Please check her out. Her Amazon page is here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Saoirse-OMara/e/B0088MVZQA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1415736366&sr=8-1 and you can follow her on Twitter @saoirseomara.

“Where do all the ideas come from?

Writers have tons of ideas. Good ones, bad ones, silly ones, or new and exciting ones (and sometimes all at once). But where do they come from? Where’s that secret well of ideas all writers seem to have access to?

It’s right there. See, there, in that restaurant across the street where the couple is arguing. Oh, and here, right next to you on the bus where you can listen to a strange phone conversation (or at least half of it). It’s in the news, written in the headlines, it’s in a funny piece of information you come across while researching something completely else.

This well of ideas, which we call ‘inspiration’, is everywhere. All you have to do is keep your eyes, ears, and mind open.

This does not mean that all the stories and books are based on real people, or even on real events. But often, a real event sparks our imagination to come up with a strange new idea, and sometimes we writers take this idea and run with it.

Think hard. Have you ever wondered who is on the other end of a phone conversation, and what they’re talking about? Have you ever seen a headline while passing by, and wondered what story might be hiding behind it? Have you ever secretly watched people in a public space, wondering where they came from and where they were going?

Then you, too, make use of the infinite well of ideas; the only difference between you and a writer is that you decide not to run with your ideas. And that’s okay. Not every idea is a good partner for eloping, anyway.

I’d like to ask one thing of you, though:

Next time you see someone on the train, staring absent-mindedly out of the window, maybe even pulling faces you can’t read, just smile to yourself and remember that this person might be watching an idea take shape (and the faces most likely come from a lively dialogue playing inside their head). Maybe the very person you’re watching will become the next bestselling author, with the very idea forming in that very moment—if you don’t chase their idea away too early by trying to draw them into a conversation about the weather (or, worse, by asking them whether they’re all right because of the faces they pull—there’s nothing more embarrassing than realising you’ve been watched, believe me).

Oh, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll meet an idea one day that’s too good to let go again. Then take a pen—or a tablet, or anything, really—and write it down. No matter where you are. Because even with a flood of ideas every moment, the readers of this world need the good ones. Until then, keep daydreaming and wondering 🙂



I think you’ll agree that this was a brilliant post, and so true! I keep a notepad in my handbag at all times and most of my ideas are things I heard or saw somewhere that I just ran with down strange and peculiar tangents!

Thanks to Saoirse for stopping by and we’ll see her again on the blog soon!

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