The Material’s Out There

Wednesday, August 25, 2010
By Jill Earl

"The material's out there, a calm lake waiting for us to dive in." - Beverly Lowry

This quote will become part of my go-to list for inspiration during those “What the heck do I write about?” moments when I’m looking for something---anything---to jumpstart my thinking. It causes me to remember this: The material is out there.

One time the material came during the walk I thought I needed to clear my head. I thought of a little tweak I could add to my travel article to finish it off nicely.

Another time I found material through the pages of old fashion magazines at the library. Now I had an idea of what my characters’ dress from a long-past decade would look like, helping with the consistency of my short fiction.

Still another time, I discovered material as I watched a movie. Inspired, I went to the kitchen and fixed dinner. The results? A delicious meal, and a post on inspiration that appeared here on the Muffin.

In order for my writing to get the place it needs to be, I have to find the material, dive in to sort and analyze it, and work to transform it into that piece of short fiction, a blog post, a book or whatever. Stir up some ripples in the lake, if you will.

Next time I begin to lament about not having anything to write about, I’ll glance at the quote above, then, take a breath and dive in.

How about you? Ready to make some ripples in your calm lake?


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