Aspiring Young Writers’ Group: Flash of Inspiration



The heat is uncomfortable today as I cross the creek toward our usual meeting spot. But the real discomforting heat I’m experiencing is from entering a second consecutive writer’s room without an offering.


“Assignment writing ate most of my attention this week guys, sorry.” It’s my go-to excuse.


As always though, they’re exceedingly understanding. “Hey that’s fine. Sometimes I find that it’s good to have a bit of time off from my project,” says Amy. “Lets me come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes and some new inspiration.”


What she says resonates. “Well yeah, that makes sense,” I respond. “I would say being separated from my writing has me thinking up a lot more ideas than usual. Planning what I’ll do when I get back to it.”


“Well, you have said that your thoughts never really stop running,” says Jim. “Guess the trick with inspiration for you is to just leave your mind to its own devices.”


It sounds charming when he says it, but it could also be described as ‘Absent minded’, which I’ve been called more than a few times over the years.


By contrast, Jim and Amy often find inspiration in other places.


“My dreams are where I get most of my story ideas from,” says Amy. “I’ve got nearly a hundred potential ones noted down here and there, and a lot of partly done stories as well.”


“That makes them sound very coherent,” I state in a vaguely sceptical tone.


“Hey, if I think they’re good I’ll note them down,” she responds. “I think that helps their quality and recall, and some of the stuff I get is just too good to pass up. Being a spy uncovering a mind control pot, running away from a vampire, living in a cottage surrounded by desert. These dreams have all prompted story ideas.”


No surprise then that her present work of focus is taken from a dream about a ghost’s perspective. Amy tells it as being “Like seeing the world but not being able to touch anything while seemingly invisible to everyone else. Thinking of an afterlife like this made me want to explore the concept further.”


“It’s awesome you’ve got this amazing pool of inspiration to draw from,” says Jim.


“What about yours though, man? Doesn’t it show there’s plenty of other good places to look for ideas to work with?” I now ask.


“Yeah, but you guys helped a fair bit with that,” he responds.


In the case of Jim’s work, the inspiration came from a uni assignment he, Rob and I did that required us to come up with a TV show pitch. Eventually he became so attached to our idea that it inspired him to start writing a full Teleplay for it.


“Well, we did all threw a lot of ideas onto the pot on that one,” I now say. “But you’ve done a lot of changing and expanding on stuff in it since then. It’s almost unrecognisable from the original idea.”


Sometimes I feel like his work has taken on a life of its own. Always seems especially true whenever we’re discussing or reading it together.


“You’re kind of the one who’s put himself up to the hardest task though, man,” Jim now says. “I mean sure, I love my hard sci-fi, but I’d be terrified of ever trying to write it myself.”


Hearing him say that often makes me feel like I’m in way over my head.


“Well it does help that I’ve been pooling my ideas for quite a long time now,” I respond. “I get so many that after a while I feel the urge to organise and tinker with them all. Plus, you’ve seen all the wacky things I like to draw. Seemed like a good idea to try to build a story out of some of those.”


Of course, I’m not the only artist in the group, with Amy having quite a knack for it.


“With me the art tends to come after the ideas are a lot more formed,” she adds. “but I think we’re similar in building up our ideas since we were younger.”


“Yeah, but I kind of wish I had a mind like yours that can support a whole stack of different potential stories instead of just one big one.”


“I don’t know,” Amy answers. “I think it’d be pretty handy to be able to stay dedicated to just one main thing.”


“Well here then I might just take the opportunity to offer some suggestions for you both,” Jim now adds. “Ben, try to use this time to see the benefits of taking a break from the usual. I know taking some time off writing while on my trip certainly helped refresh things. And Amy, focus a little more on how you see your work as a finished product. Might help add some additional momentum.”


Once again, some more handy prompting arises. Guess I’ve got something to be grateful and confident about once I jump back into my book writing next week. Fresh perspective and new inspiration, it’s good to check back in with you both.



Read Ben Kirkby’s Aspiring Writers’ Group columns HERE.



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About Ben Kirkby

Ben moved to Melbourne at the start of 2016 from country NSW. Shortly after declaring his intent to live in Melbourne permanently, his uncle Sam suggested "If you're going to live here you've got to get along to the footy at some point". After seeing his first football match (Hawthorn vs Sydney, round 9 2016) Ben's interest in AFL took off in a way highly unexpected by both himself and his extended family. Ben's team alignment was uncertain for a time, seeing an interest taken primarily toward Hawthorn during much of the 2016 season, but during the finals series he declared his intent to follow the way of his cousins and uncle and become a Richmond Supporter, primarily on the grounds of them being the team he most wanted to see win, among a long list of other reasons. Needless to say the following year saw him very happy with his choice.


  1. Yes, I'm that Amy says

    Love it Ben, sad to see that you’ve almost finished this column. It’s so good, I hate to see it end. Looking forward to next weeks.

  2. Yes, I'm that Jim says

    Great work Ben. I’m looking at my writing today after two weeks away from it and it feels great. I am in equal parts reminded of what an excellent writer I am, and simultaneously, how far I have to go to be proficient at my craft!

  3. Ben The Artist says

    The column might be nearing it’s planned end Amy, but I have a feeling our exchanges may still fuel a good deal of future work. Our meet ups always see plenty of amusement, learning and progress which’d be a shame not keep a record of going ahead.
    And it’s good too to have you back at the table Jim. Hope the break and my words have helped get the wheels well-untruly spinning again.
    Thanks a lot to both of you.

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