We don’t look for inspiration as much as inspiration finds us.
It’s true that most of my protagonists reflect a bit of myself, but there’s more to it than that. I wouldn’t be myself if it weren’t for all the people in my life. Anyone who truly knows me would say I’m a lot like my mother, sometimes a little too much like her. But that’s fine with me. Anytime my characters put their foot down or toss back some sassy remark – that’s my mother. When my characters give realistic reflection on life and its lessons or strives to educate themselves – that’s my father. When my characters refuse to conform to social standards, juggle family and career, or defend those who can’t defend themselves – that’s my brothers and sister. And when my characters see age as just a number, making jokes or pulling pranks or just acting outright immature – that’s my friends and co-workers.
In addition to the people in my life that I care about, I encounter strangers that bring me inspiration – that woman in the parking lot with four or five kids hanging off a shopping cart, that old man that looks (and smells) homeless but isn’t, that guy/girl in the car coming towards me as it crosses the center line because they’re texting and driving (STOP DOING THAT, BY THE WAY!) I listen to music, which differs depending on what I’m trying to write at the time. I also peruse art from unknown artists, mostly on Deviantart, in the hopes that something will “speak” to me. Or I just sit outside my rural home and watch the birds and bugs. There’s no right (write?) or wrong way to be inspired. There are no rules. It just happens. It’s like love.
So, whether you’re an artist or not, how does inspiration find you? Where do you go or what do you do to help inspiration find its way?