I'm preparing for a writing workshop that I'm running in a week. It's looking at how to begin, how to generate ideas and get started. And of course one of the first questions asked is 'where do ideas come from...'

The answer, as most writers know, is everywhere.

From conversations over heard, from comments, from images and news reports, from wondering 'what if?'

And since it's my daughter's birthday next week...I will have to say that family, especially my children have inspired so many stories, poetry, non-fiction and even novels. Which I don't think they are really aware of...not yet anyway.

Children are a font of inspiration, mainly because they have no editor. They say whatever they want, to whomever they want. They ask questions....they make statements. They inspire in so many ways.

Sometimes it's their innocence, their pure view of the world...sometimes it's the questions that they dare ask that an adult never would. Sometimes it's their beliefs...unshakeable no matter how much you try and use logic. Adult logic.

My children are now adults. They still inspire me, and something that happens to them, some comment, some chance remark or event will be noted down. Find its way into a story or poem. Become a thread in a novel.

And now that I work with children, I still get those innocent remarks. That child's perspective that as an adult we lose.

Children also have that fantastic ability to be children, no matter where they are. On our recent holiday we saw children in villages playing, and making do. A group of children playing quoits with four rubber bands. Two girls playing a juggling game with two marbles.

They didn't have a mass of dolls and tonka trucks, there were no Wii's or Nintendos (in fact no electricity at all).

Children are definitely worth listening to. Observing. There is always some thing, some new thought, some new 'logic' that can inspire a poem, story, parenting article or even a novel.

It's just a case of listening.


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