I live in Southern California where the weather is nice about 90 percent of the year (tough life; I know). During the months of March and April, however, we were hit with rain and some hail, followed by beautiful, bright sunny mornings. It was on one of these days that I made a discovery in the sky that also led to a discovery about my writing.
Like every typical morning weekday, I was driving to work sipping my coffee and listening to NPR. I looked up in the sky and immediately pulled my car safely to the side of the road. There above me was a gorgeous rainbow stretched across the sky. I’d never seen a rainbow this close before and never one as large as this one appeared. I grabbed my camera (which I just happened to bring with me that day), hopped out of the car and snapped a few shots of this incredible sight.
What struck me about this experience is that you never really know what unexpected, beautiful aspect of nature you will see on a given day. To me, this started as an ordinary day, driving to work as usual. But then – what I saw – was amazing, beautiful, inspiring. I was glad I had my camera with me to capture (as best I could) the moment.
I then thought about how this experience directly relates to how I come up with writing topics. My writing process is not formal. Nearly all the pieces I write are inspired by some random thought or observation, and just come to me out of nowhere, and when I’m least expecting it – like the rainbow in the sky.
An example: I wrote a post on my blog titled A Coke Girl in a Pepsi World where I talk about my feelings of being an outsider and different among a world of “sames.” What I love about this piece, however, is how the idea came to me. I was opening the office refrigerator at work to chill my Diet Coke when I noticed the fridge was full of Pepsi cans. I placed my soda in the fridge and walked back to my office, when I thought to myself: I’m the only Coke among all the Pepsi; kind of like my life story. And THAT’S when the writing moment struck me. The blog title quickly appeared in my mind and I immediately had to jot down my thoughts. (Given I was at work, the actual post writing came at home that night.)
But that process – that discovery of something completely out of the blue – is what fuels my writing. I love that something in nature, such as a rainbow, can be such a great metaphor for my writing process.
What inspires you to write? Have you ever encountered something in nature that triggered words on a page?