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MAI's Writing Corner: "Excuse me, what's my inspiration?"

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

Greetings and Good Afternoon Everyone,

Today, I would like to talk about where I gain inspiration as a writer. We all can gain inspiration from anything and anywhere in life, if we are open to it. Many times when I'm writing for my books, I'm inspired by the music I listen to. I love to listen to "Big Band" and "traditional jazz", or R&B from the 1980's, 1990's, and earlier. I usually get a vibe that makes me want to dive right into writing. When I begin writing, I will turn the music on, light a candle, and fix myself a cup of tea or coffee, and sometimes just sit for a moment and let the feeling take over me. I don't know if other writers can relate, but often times, I've been overwhelmed with emotion as I write, and to be honest, I love when that happens. As I write, I can hear the voices of my characters begin to come through. It's an amazing to feeling to feel as though someone is speaking to you. I know that it sounds weird, but it's how I create a whole new world where my characters live. When I'm inspired the words literally pour out of my head and I love that feeling, as well. So below, I thought I'd share some of the inspirations for my creative process, and how they've affected my work.

Here are 3 of My Favorite Things that Inspire my Creative Process of Writing:

1. Music

When I worked on my first book, The Violet Rose, I listened to a lot of #Prince music for inspiration. Simply because to two major characters, Violet and Nate were based on his personality. In many ways, they were a lot like him, and they were the physical imagery for many of his song lyrics. It was fun to use his music as the "soundtrack" for their fictional lives and the romance that unfolded. For second my second book, Three's A Charm (coming soon) I wrote to Sex & Cigarettes by Toni Braxton because, the lyrics and sound of that album gave me the perfect mindset for creating my main character, Monica Storrow. I was able to see life through the eyes of a married woman in a broken marriage, and looking for something liven it up! Now, I'm in the process of writing my third book (name not revealed yet) in "The Purple Charm Series", and the main character in this romance is a millennial and I'm being inspired by a bunch of newer artists, such as, Doja Cat, Amber Mark, April + Vista, McClenney, Anderson.Paak, Leo Bridges, and older artists like, Raphael Saadiq, Sylvia, Bruno Mars & Cardi B, and Beyoncé. It's interesting because, she's a bit introverted and highly intelligent, entrepreneur, and holds a PhD. She's pretty badass!

What kind of music stirs up your creative juices? I'd like to know.

2. Location

I'm always motivated by beautiful sunny days. Something about it gives me energy to write. I remember when I was finishing the final chapters of The Violet Rose, I hit a "writer's block" because I wanted to write a very heartfelt chapter between Violet and her mother, Simone, and I wanted it to take place in the Outer Banks, NC, but I had a problem. It had been years since I gone to the Outer Banks. I'd remembered visiting #OBX when I was a child for my seventh grade class trip, but I couldn't remember enough about it to write this chapter using it as the backdrop for creating a pivotal moment in the storyline. So I was stumped! Although, I had this dilemma, I'm also a person that believes in the laws of attraction, and I'd envisioned this chapter and how I would write about these characters long before doing so. However, I felt that couldn't write about it until I actually visited #OBX again. I wanted my connection to the location to be genuine and from a firsthand account of being in that place. Now, visiting OBX wasn't in the plan, and I was perplexed on how to write about this place that I hadn't been to in so long. So, I kept sitting on this idea, and I had stopped writing. It wasn't until, I moved to Maryland, and a relative was planning a family trip to #OBX, and she invited my family to join hers, and that trip came out of no where. Finally, I was able to get a feel for this location, and immerse myself in what it felt like to vacation at the Outer Banks. Soon after, I completed chapter 14, and it was probably one of my favorite chapters in the entire book because, I cried the entire time that I wrote that chapter. Also, visiting Minneapolis, MN allowed me to connect with #Prince in a way that allowed me to write this story in a fluid way. Also, living in Boston for almost ten years made it easy to set my stories there. I love that city and it has made for a wonderful location for my stories.

Is there a real location that has inspired your work?

3. Environment & Props

When it comes to my surroundings, I love when my environment influences my writing. A beautiful day motivates me, changing my location and experiencing nature inspires me, and all of this fuels my writing aspirations. I'm generally more inspired when I'm outside. This makes me feel like I can align with the emerging story. I also love "props" or writing about "my favorite things". For instance, in book three, I'm writing about a product from a business whose owner has become a close business contact in real life. The name of the business is Dé Ja Vu Skin, an African-American family-owned business based in Massachusetts. I discovered this business on Instagram, in late 2018. I reached out to the owner, who is a super creative, amazing businesswoman that became a sponsor for my first writing event in January 2019, called "M.A.I. Write to Romance". Since then, she's been super supportive of my book and all of my efforts, and I love her products and her family's business. As a way to thank her and uplift the her business, I decided to make one of my characters a fan of her products as well. I also, write about the places I've been and my favorite restaurants and foods. In The Violet Rose, I highlight one of my favorite restaurants in Boston, Del Frisco's located on the waterfront. I went there for my 35th birthday, and I also, wrote Violet celebrating her 30th birthday there. I'll continue taking in my surroundings and favorite items, and you'll never know when they will pop up in the next story.

What are your favorite props and what's your ideal environment for building your story?

So there you have it! This week I gave a little glimpse into my creative process. I hope that you've found it insightful, and I'd love to hear how these elements affect your writing. If you're just getting started with your writing, I encourage you, to allow these items to influence your process too. Please feel to share your stories with me and your writing! I'd love to hear your creative process.

Happy writing and have a fabulous "Hump Day"! 😃

Thank you for reading my blog this morning. Hey, do me a favor, if you like or love this post, comment on it. I’d love to hear your feedback. Also, please feel free to share it with your family and friends in the social media universe. I greatly appreciate the support!

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