Now that “Best Birthday Ever” has been released I’m pleased to take a little break and reflect on the book and how difficult this one was to write. It should have been easy (and I guess it did become easy by the end) but at the start I had absolutely no inspiration.
I knew I wanted to write about Charlie’s 11th birthday party, but I had no idea what that would look like. I knew I wanted to write about her having a challenge with one of her friends, but I didn’t know what that challenge would be.
When I write a book I pack my bags for a few days and go away so that I can be alone. For this book I went to a little house at the beach.
I was away for four days and three nights. I usually get started with my writing right away and the story just flows. But this time I spent the first two days drumming my fingers on the table staring into space. Do you ever see movies where a writer just stares at their screen? Well that was me.
I didn’t know what to do.
As an adult it’s often hard to write through the eyes of a child. So I took myself to the local shops and went into all the stores that felt “kidish”. I surrounded myself in lollies, balloons, colour and gift ideas. As I walked from store to store I started to feel my inner Charlie beginning to emerge.
Then I found this really cool rainbow zebra drink coaster. An idea sprung to mind and I raced home to write about it. I wrote from dawn until night for two days straight and the story was better than I ever imagined it could be.
It can be hard to write. Stories don’t always flow easily. Sometimes you have to really get inside the character’s mind and actually go out and experience life through their eyes. Inspiration can come from the strangest places.
If you’re writing a story and having trouble with the story line, go outside and explore your surroundings. You never know what you might find that will spark an idea that grows into an entire novel. You could find your own “rainbow zebra” to write about.