Ideas for books to write are often elusive, as any writer will tell you, which is why so many authors carry a notebook around with them so they can catch any fleeting inspiration before it disappears. A word, a phrase, an apt reference - all grist to the writer's mill.
In today's guest post in the How to be an Author series, Robin Wolstenholme tells how she dreamed her first book and finds inspiration all around her. Enjoy.
Where Do Ideas for Books Come From?
by Robin Wolstenholme
As an author, editor and publisher I deal with books from a variety of perspectives. One recurring question is "Where did you get the idea for your book?" Everyone has a different answer. In this guest post for Imogen Knight's blog I will give my answer to this question.
I never fancied myself a writer per se although my whole career has involved writing or rewriting for others in administrative positions. I wondered how people came up with ideas for their books. Then I experienced a situation at work where my boss had a nervous breakdown. The effect it had on me required me to stop working. I had realized there was stress involved in my job, but until I retired from it I didn't realize how much it consumed my thoughts. After being away from work for several months and after dealing with the fallout of leaving the workforce my mind was clear. Then, I had a dream.
Dreams and Inspirations
I dreamed my first children's book. In its entirety. I got up the next morning and it was still clear as day and I wrote it down. I continued to have ideas for books after this dream and I wrote those ideas down too. But it wasn't the entire book like in my dream. Nonetheless I found my creativity increasing daily. I then needed an illustrator. I am a painter, but painting is different from drawing and being new to the process felt an illustrator needed to be able to draw. Luckily I had a cousin that was just what I needed. He sketched and I painted. We collaborated over the internet from half a world apart and completed my first book "Kangaroo Tales - The Long Black Paddock" several months later about an adventurous kangaroo in Australia and his mates. The book touches on one of the perils animals face regarding technology and man-made things.
Not long after I started on my second book about my cat. Personal experience: one of the most common triggers for writing a book. Again with my cousin's talent my second children's book emerged. "Perki Cati" is all about my very talented and entertaining cat and all true!
My third children's book again came from a dream sparked by my real life granddaughter. Living halfway around the world from my family, I do miss them. I hired an illustrator for this book as I wanted the main character to look like my granddaughter. "Button, Button" was born, about how family traditions get started.
Inspiration For Health
Health issues sparked my fourth book, Exercise in Bed, which is an exercise plan designed to help a number of people. When you are overweight or have health problems like arthritis the simple facets of regular exercise programs are really overwhelming. Getting down on the floor, jarring movements or simple things like jogging or running are just not practical. I hit all these problems head on and found it depressing indeed! After non successful consultations with medical professionals I decided I would just have to figure it out myself. I use to have a real problem with my feet in the morning being stiff. I was also having a considerable problem with sitting for long periods. The plan began when I started stretching my ankles and feet in the morning along with my back to be in less pain. It worked! I realized I needed an exercise and stretching routine that I could manage to do regularly without being in pain. So I developed other in bed exercises to strengthen my core and stretch other muscles and joints. It began working for me. The sitting problem was corrected. I rose every morning in less pain and not needing the 6 pills a day recommended by the professionals for my pain.
I decided this was something I wanted to share. Using my previous career skills and a bit of my abundant humor, I drew up characters in PowerPoint to show my exercises and put together an ebook along with some heartfelt comments and advice.
I have a list of books waiting to be written. I still marvel when I am editing and publishing other people's books and wonder how did they come up with that idea? My best advice is to just relax. You have your book ideas right there in your life in your family, your experiences, your dreams. The first thing you have to do is allow yourself to consider yourself a writer. Sure, there are rules and courses and people who can teach you to write. The important thing is to just write your story. I believe anyone can do it. You will need editing, even the best writers do. Just please write. I am one of many people that want to read your story.
published under the alias: Robin Petty