Today I bring you a lovely Guest Post! Hurray!
This is part of the Blog Tour for Prosecco and Promises, a lovely Romance book by A. L. Michael. She was very kind to write a lovely post about inspiration, and how to acknowledge when inspiration finds you.
Hope you enjoy it and don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour for this brilliant book.
Now I’m going to go enjoy my Prosecco, and I leave you with A.L. Michael to entertain you.
When inspiration finds you
You know that famous saying about buses? It’s pretty similar with ideas, at least with me. I can go for months with perhaps a rough idea in the back of my mind that I know I’ll get to eventually, and the minute I start working seriously on a book, another idea pops up, not quite fully formed, and demands attention.
The fear is, at times like this, that if you don’t turn your head and look at this idea head on, you don’t acknowledge it and give it some time in the spotlight, it’ll fade away. It’ll be one of those whispers when you wake up, so sure you could never forget that dream. So I am tempted by these fickle ideas when they flaunt their wares and strut their stuff. I sit them down with a nice cup of tea and ask them to tell me their life story. The new idea thrives, so pleased to be the centre of attention. My old faithful, my midway manuscript sits there, wondering what the hell is going on, because hello, we were just getting to the good bit, but usually they’re patient. A little grumpy, perhaps, when I return to work and need to rev the engine on the book again, but they seem to understand. After all, they were once the tempting idea too.
The tempting new idea needs that love and attention straight away, in order to grow into something just tangible enough to survive in a couple of notebooks, the back of a scribbled notebook and the back of my mind. It’s like a delicate seed. We know seeds grow into flowers, that’s what they do. But an idea is a seed that’s started sprouting, and if you leave it without attention, without light or water, it’ll fade away and wither. Right at the beginning, the start of that idea, you need to listen.
This has happened a few times in the last few months. I worked hell for leather on a domestic noir that had been sitting in the back of my mind as an epic love story four years ago. When I was working on that, a magical realism story shook her hips and long hair and called me over. When I had finished that, another had appeared, desperate and panting like it had run a long way to find me. The final one popped up, sat beside me on my train journey every morning for a week, explored the different versions of itself, and told me I wasn’t ready yet, but that it would be back when I was. The root would survive, nestled warm in my head.
Ideas have never been my problem, and last summer, on my research trip to Ischia for Prosecco and Promises, I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, where she says Ideas are like sentient beings, nudging at you for attention. When you don’t work with them, when you break the contract between you to bring them to life, they move on to someone else. Which is why when you see another book and think ‘wait, I had that idea!’ you were probably right. But that idea got tired of waiting around for you. It had to go get made. We don’t own ideas, they borrow us.
It’s a strange concept, but I quite like it. Because lots of ideas are the same, it’s often the voice that’s the difference. So many stories are similar, and writers get put off bothering, but they shouldn’t because only they can tell their story their way. The author becomes a translator from the ideas realm to the real world.
I think these ideas appear when I’m writing because I’m in a different state of mind. Writing is dreaming on paper. Or, on screen. Our brains are looking for the right phrase, imagining movements, visualising the colour of the sky or the feel of someone’s jumper. We’re in something, an almost sacred space where ideas can cross over, because we’re ready to accept them.
But when we’re not in that space, there are things we can do to encourage ideas and inspiration. I find being unendingly curious really helps. Well, curious is the kind word for it – nosey. I’m nosey. I listen to people talking on the bus, and I read non-stop articles and I ask myself questions, and whenever I find something interesting I ask ‘What if?’ and take it to it’s furthest logical extreme. I watch and read and listen to as much as I can, consuming it all to see what strikes up a spark. I assess why my favourite things are my favourite things – why did that make me laugh, why is that beautiful? What type of person would find this ugly? What would they say?
When I started my creative writing class at university, we were sent out with a notebook to find inspiration. Anywhere. Find things and write about them. Inspiration detectives. A lot of the time, the things I wrote were rubbish. But learning to look at the blades of grass and how they moved, or listening to the girl crying to her best friend in the coffee shop, or watching the movement of a teacher as he stopped to shake hands with a senior professor – being aware and open and nosey – this is where inspiration lurks.
It’s waiting for you – all you have to do is listen.
About the book
Title: Prosecco and Promises
Author: A. L. Michael
Previous Books: Cocktails and Dreams
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Release Date: 12th February 2018
Synopsis: Meet Mia: an unforgettable heroine learning the meaning of life and love on a beautiful Italian island. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lindsey Kelk and Lucy Vine.
Mia’s dad has always been her idol. Now, she faces losing him and he is insisting that she leave England to visit her mother’s family on the Italian island of Ischia.
Arriving on the island, Mia is embraced by the warm, crazy relatives she hardly knows. Despite her doubts about the trip, it is in Italy that Mia discovers connections to a part of her life that’s been missing, and during the sun-soaked days and steamy nights Mia falls for handsome local Salvatore. But as the day of her departure draws nearer can she risk having her heart broken twice in one summer?
If you love Prosecco and Promises, why not read more about Mia’s best friend Savvy in Cocktails and Dreams? Out now!
About The Author
A.L. Michael is hurtling towards the end of her twenties a little too quickly. She is the author of 10 novels. Her most recent collection of books, The Martini Club Series, started with Cocktails and Dreams, to be followed by Prosecco and Promises, and Martinis and Memories. She likes to write about difficult women. Well, they say to write what you know. Andi works as a Content Writer, as well as a therapeutic facilitator. She has a bunch of degrees in stuff to do with writing, and wrote her MSc dissertation on the power of creative writing in eating disorder recovery. She truly believes stories can change your life.
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