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.
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.
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.