Guest Post by Leonard W. Lambert
Creative inspiration is the spark that lights the fire for ideas. It can happen anywhere, anytime, any place. It is the true artist that can harness this into a medium that others can enjoy.
My personal creative inspiration came in the form of a question to myself about a fish; a flying fish to be exact.
I work on container ships as a merchant mariner, so I spend a lot of time out on the open ocean. I love the job and traveling the world from sea to sea is just one of the great perks of my profession. I started at a young age doing this in the US Coast Guard, and have never stopped.
One day, on the bridge of the ship, navigating my way to the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, I was staring out the window completely frustrated. I have been writing a complex story about espionage on the high seas.
It is a good story, but I was stuck on the layers upon layers of the characters and the plot. I found myself at a complete standstill, with no real solution in sight.
I had been a published author before, in 2007, and I received that publishing contract in writing what I know about. I kept telling myself in my head to write what I know about, and the current story I was struggling with was getting way out of my knowledge base.
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Finding creative inspiration for The Fish Who Could Fly
As I gazed out at the blue sea, the ship pushed through a school of flying fish, which always sends them scattering at great speed all over the place to get away from this massive piece of steel moving through the water.
The flying fish all took off gliding through the air. I have never tired of watching flying fish, it is just so amazing that fish can fly (glide really).
Then I asked myself a question absentmindedly: “I wonder what made a fish think that he/she could fly?”
The inspiration hit me immediately and I jumped from my post on the bridge like I got shocked.
I asked the question again, “What made that fish want to fly?”
The spark was lit, I could feel it pulsing. My mind wandered to a flying fish as a character in a children’s book trying to convince himself and others that he can fly.
As a songwriter and lover of poetry, my words turn into versus almost automatically. So, with my new idea in mind, I abandoned my complex story for a simpler, colorful story about the first fish who thought that he could fly.
The words came easy, the plot flowed effortlessly, and the story of the Flying Fish (who we now call “Fiddley”) was born.
Whenever I am reading to students, I always tell this story first before I read my book. It has really inspired students to create their own stories that they share with me and their fellow students.
I always call on fellow young writers to foster that creative inspiration, as it is essential for all creative thought and work.
What do you think of author Leonard Lambert’s creative inspiration? How do you find inspiration for your stories? Let us know in the comments.
Leonard Lambert, a University of Washington graduate with a degree in communications, is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. He has been a shipboard professional in several capacities. He is a member of the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots, and is a container ship captain for Matson Navigation. He has made a career of sailing to remote destinations to see what the world is about. His first book, The New Hawsepipe: A Comprehensive Guide to Merchant Marine Licensing and Documentation (Cornell Maritime Press, 2007), is a popular practical manual for those seeking a career in the merchant marines or who strive to become a merchant marine officer. Leonard resides in Snohomish, Washington with his wife, Megan, and daughter Eva. His love of the sea has fueled his passion for writing where, out on the open ocean, your imagination can drift far and wide. You can learn more about him on Leonard Lambert’s website.