Probably one of the most frequently asked questions I receive is: where do you get your ideas from?
The kind of person I am means that I’ve really dwelled long and hard about this – the kind of active, dedicated concentration that can only occur while waiting for the printer to warm up, or some irritable sod to faff about trying to get their Oyster card out at the bloody barrier. Where do they come from? Honestly? I don’t know. Sometimes they fly into my brain fully formed, others I have to prod at a word or a concept until I can mould it into something interesting. There is something about my brain that doesn’t turn off. Watching a film or TV series is dangerous for me. I end up being overly inspired, which often leads to disinterest in the actual thing I’m trying to watch, and end up flirting briefly with the idea of writing a new genre or complicated character arc. But back to the question, where do my ideas come from? They come from me, they come from you. They come from a man walking through Chapel Market today who carried a packet of six fruit scones, who briefly took me to a Friday afternoon spent spreading clotted cream on a weekly treat he indulged in and in the four and a half seconds I knew him for I felt nothing but sadness for a small life with small pleasures. They come from the woman on the train who is overly conscious of the length of her skirt, or the one who cannot cope a night on her own. They come from the people who want to travel the world, or the sweet old lady at the Sainsbury’s who missed her chance to run the marathon.
For me, ideas are not the hardest part about writing. The hardest part is remembering to live.