There's a line from a movie you may or may not have seen, that goes, "There's something you have to understand about art. It comes from somewhere."
Where does your art come from?
When I was a child, I wanted to be a writer. I wrote poems and Christmas plays and stories for Reflections. However, when I reached college, somehow I became convinced that I couldn't write. Sure, I could turn out a mean essay for my Crit Lit class, but I couldn't write write. I wasn't creative enough. I wasn't blessed with a big enough imagination.
Then, a few years ago, I started a family blog, and I remembered how much I enjoyed writing. Like, writing writing. And so I took the plunge, clinging to the only real creative writing advice I had ever learned, which was "write what you know." I wrote a short story about a woman who's husband was in law school. Nearly everything in that story was from something I had experienced, heard, witnessed, or read. Since then, I've continued to write, but my strategy hasn't really changed. My stories are comprised of things I've begged, borrowed, and stolen. I'm not creative - I just have fast hands.
But it is something of a wonder how, when you decide to write, little bits and pieces you've filed away in your mind start to come together. Start to form something new. The spark for my current story came from a bumper sticker I happened to see one day on the freeway. Ideas had been swirling around in my mind, but that bumper sticker pulled them all together.
There is something dreamlike about the process of writing. In Shadow Catcher, Marianne Wiggins writes, "How the average person dreams is pretty much how the average novelist puts a page together." We writers grasp for those fragmented, grainy thoughts and images, patch them into narrative, and hope it all means what we think it should.