Grab a cup of tea and let me start this week off by telling you a story about a young girl who would one day become your favorite mystery maven.
But at this point, where our story is set, I wasn’t there quite yet. In fact, I hadn’t really written my first mystery at this point. We’re coming around to the point where I maybe was starting to work on “Puzzle Pieces” for The Lemon Herberts.
Some of you who follow me on Facebook, or have caught me talking about my writing, might know the significance of that month. That was the month my grandfather passed away. In case you don’t know the significance of that, he is one of the reasons I fell in love with writing. He read everything he could get his hands on. That’s saying something, because he went legally blind and was still reading large print.
His love of reading was contagious. We would read together–especially mysteries.
My love of the genre was already there.
A few weeks after his passing, I discovered the USA Network show, Psych. It became one of my absolute favorite shows. For those of you who haven’t had the privilege, Psych is a show about Shawn Spencer, a hyper-observant guy with a photographic memory (and was trained by his father his entire childhood) who solves crimes in Santa Barbara California all while posing as a Psychic Detective. Because Shawn has the attention span of the average five-year-old, they tended to only work on murder cases; those were the only cases shiny enough to keep his attention.
Fast forward about 19 months. I had the opportunity to write a police procedural, but needed a case. This is also around the time Psych‘s seventh season was airing, and the big announcement that they were closing on their eighth and final season.
While making the decision, I turned to my favorite crime fighting team and saw them solving murders. After spending as much time as I have watching them at work, I thought a murder case was where I would be the most familiar–and thus at least have a foundation between it and my grandfather, the two things that made writing a police procedural even appeal to me.
So there it is, I also talk about this in this week’s episode of The Raconteur Roundtable!
But I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m telling this story, after all, it’s been awhile since I ranted like this. Over this last weekend, I started to rewatch Psych. I figured, since this is partially what inspired me to write my first mystery, maybe I’d find whatever muse was hiding in those eight seasons.
I’m about halfway through Season 1 and I’m having an absolute blast. It’s like revisiting old friends after a long time away.
So here’s my question for all of your and partially why I’m writing this today. What inspired you to write? Who?
We hit a point in our writing careers, or at least I feel like I have, where we seem to maybe step away from that inspiration. We forget that we decided to do this writing thing because we love it.
Somewhere along the way it becomes all about deadlines and the next project and your writing bucket list and what you want to do and where you want to go.
What about those days where you dreamed of writing, of telling your story and having your voice heard?
When was the last time you wrote for fun?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with all of the above, it’s part of what makes up a writing career.
But sometimes, you need to take a step back and find your muse. Find where you started. Sure, if you’re like me you’ve come a long, long, long, long ways since then.
But it’s your start.
What inspired you? What spoke to you then? Maybe it was two guys who constantly make 80s jokes, eat an obsessive amount of pineapple, and solve murders that might otherwise go unsolved in rather untraditional methods.
What is it?
If you’re like me and feel like you’ve been stuck in a writing rut, maybe you should join me in revisiting it and seeing if you can remember what it was that inspired you.
Normally here I give you advice and tell you my two cents worth on how to fix the problem in question. But not this week.
This week I’m going to issue you a challenge.
Find what inspired you
And maybe, take an hour or two this week and write something for the sake of writing.
I’ve done both this week. I think it’s made the world of difference.