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Finding Inspiration

My husband and I have spent the last few days in the lovely state of Maine.  My biggest regret about Maine is that I didn’t visit here sooner.  We’re staying in the area known as the midcoast–specifically we’re about an hour north of Portland in a beautiful place called Boothbay Harbor.  With the wonderful location, perfect weather and friendly people, we couldn’t ask for more.

Spruce Point

The resort we’re staying at, The Spruce Point Inn, is on the waterfront and wonderfully picturesque.  With its gorgeous flowers, rolling lawns and the stately main building, this is exactly how I would have written a New England resort.

My purpose in coming here was to relax and spend some quality time with my husband, which I did.  We sampled the local food, explored new places and did some major decompressing.  Of course, I took pictures.

On Saturday, we were enjoying our lobster rolls at a wonderful waterfront restaurant when I pulled out my phone and took a couple of photos.

“What did you take pictures of?” he asked.

“Oh, nothing,” I responded.

My darling husband grinned.  He knows me so well; he knew I had something in mind.

“What just gave you an idea?”  he wondered.  “The guys in the boat?”

That did it. I started laughing.  He knew the two rather rotund, shirtless, middle-aged men in a high-powered cigarette boat were going to be in a story someday.  It was an awesome scene…the two men were flirting shamelessly with two twenty-somethings in bikinis and displaying as much bad taste as you would expect.  And my husband knew it, and he caught me mining for material.

But that brings up the idea that everything is material when you are a writer.  Every experience, every place, every person you meet can be stored away and  drawn upon later. My guys in the boat may not turn up for two or three stories, but I’ll always have the memory.  And the pictures.

Ocean Point, Maine

The lobster roll I had for lunch?  The beauty of the rocks and the water at Ocean Point? Those experiences are with me and when I need them I can pull them out of my writer’s hat and make a story more vivid.

So, the short answer to the question everyone asks me about where I get my ideas is that I get my ideas from everything.  Writers use our surroundings–the people, the places, the sights and sounds–to bring our stories to life.

We’re watching.  We’re always watching.

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    24 Responses to Finding Inspiration

    1. Michele Shaw says:

      Truer than true, Jeannie! Unfortunately, it tends to make those who know me nervous. They always say, “You aren’t going to write about that, are you?” Really, they have no worries. I find strangers much more fascinating because I can just take bits of what I see and weave them in without the baggage I actually know of friends and family. But, yes, I get a story from almost anything I see. And it’s so much fun:)

    2. I think it’s high time authors give lobstah rolls the attention they deserve!
      Glad you had a wonderful trip. I’m glad the Mainers treated you city folk all right!

    3. Patty Blount says:

      So true. My husband’s family has a beach bungalow in Rhode Island. A week spent there a few years ago figured prominently in one of my adult contemporary novels.

      • Jeannie says:

        I’m going to be setting a book in a high school eventually. My colleagues might get nervous.

        • Christine Gardella says:

          This comment reminds me of that great shirt one of our students would wear: Careful or you’ll end up in my novel.

          Hey, when you’re a character with a good, real-life plotline, you should expect to have it documented somehow–pray for a contemporary romance novel and not the cover of Newsday. 🙂

    4. So true. And as writers, we enjoy the opportunity to bring to life those moments that so many “miss” along the way.

      It is one thing to observe, it is another to write, it is an act of grace to be able to do both.

      • Jeannie says:

        Every day I can sit at my keyboard and create, or with a pen and paper and expand my ideas, I feel like the luckiest person on the planet. I’m thankful to the rest of the human race for all the good material.

    5. BWalshWriter says:

      Great post Jeannie. Vacations are always good for inspiration, but I’m also inspired by my day to day surroundings as well.

    6. Donna Coe-Velleman says:

      Glad you had such a nice time with your husband.
      Inspiration is indeed all around us. You just have to be open to have it touch you.

    7. Happy you enjoyed the lobster, the land, and the people. I traveled to Maine with my family as a child, staying at Pemaquid Point.

      Yes, inspiration is all around us. You carry a camera. I carry my little moleskin notebook everywhere (even to bed!).

      Recently, I took copious setting notes at a beautiful country wedding and gleaned “20-something man” dialogue on a trainride into NYC.

      Yes, we are watching…and thinking…what iffing….and creating. We are artists of language. 🙂

    8. Debora Dale says:

      You made me want to visit Maine again, Jeannie. It’s been so long but the tranquility you describe is what I remember most.

      As a photographer’s wife, I always have a camera with me. My husband does too, of course, but his photos are for capturing memories. Mine are like yours, for capturing moments to explore later. The power of the muse is impressive, isn’t it? I can’t wait to see what scenario you come up with for those two men in the boat. 🙂

    9. abby mumford says:

      the inspiration is everywhere, it’s the mining for the proper words to turn the spark into something tangible that is the true challenge. irresistibly so.

    10. Amy says:

      Oh, what a wonderful trip! I am so glad you had a nice time and were able to collect some writing-fodder at the same time. Also, I am in love with Boothbay Harbor and was thinking about taking hubs to that same resort for his birthday next year… I will consider this a positive review and look into it some more! 🙂

      • Jeannie says:

        We had a wonderful time. If you go to the resort, make sure you go to the spa for a massage or facial…heaven. The best was just getting away alone. I haven’t seen MH that relaxed in ages.

    11. Pingback: Getting to My Happy Place | Jeannie Moon

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