If you've read any of my Magic Carnival books, you’ll know that they’re set in a travelling carnival, with all the fun frivolity of a side show, thrill rides and outside entertainment, but matched by the stunning performances in the big top every evening.
Because I’m a dedicated writer, I like to do research, and I figure that this includes going to every circus act that comes my way. The latest such show was called Limbo, which was on here in Auckland recently.
All I can say is that it was amazing. The contortionist was so bendy that I had to shut my eyes on occasion; the woman who breathed fire was all elegance and grit; and the guy who seemed to drop down the rope he was climbing… well, let’s just say I thought he was a goner. Everything was so well done, right down to the musicians who were playing several different instruments between them, and the Ringmaster who wore pure white and had feathers coming off his shoulders. It was simply a very well put together show, and I was grinning from ear to ear as I clapped for their finale.
I came away from the show buzzing with such a plethora of ideas and inspiration that all I wanted to do was go home and write. I wanted to make changes to the current book, to add scenes, and take out others.
This in some ways is a hassle. I’m in the editing stage of my fourth book, and at this point, I don’t want to be adding or changing too much. But going to the show changed my perception of some of the scenes in my head, and I need to change them. I just do. It’s going to make it a better book, with more to offer my readers, which is very important to me.
And I guess that is my point. Writing can sometimes be a solo pursuit, sitting at home alone, chasing the story lines in my head, or corralling the ones that have made it down on paper. But choosing to get out and experience different things in the world is a vital part of creativity, and if you’re searching for something to amp it up in your life, sitting at home won’t cut it.
I’m not saying that you have to go to see circus shows every weekend, but attending the local school play, or talking to someone new, or even just going for a walk in your neighbourhood are all amazing ways to gather new ideas and inspiration. Just keep your eyes open, and try to look at everything through the eyes of someone who's never seen it before!
So go put your shoes on, get out of the house, and make some inspiration happen.