On Waiting for Inspiration

The other night, I was finishing up the most recent 100 word story post and… well, I should say that I had just started the post… that is to say, I was sitting in front of my computer and staring off into space.

Normally, I write in the mornings after my wife leaves to drop off the girls to daycare (Grandma & Grandpa’s house) before heading in to work at 8am. But that morning, I had to make a church delivery for my work and I ended up dropping the girls off, so I didn’t have time to work on my post.

I knew that I wanted to participate in the last prompt from Julia’s Place, but I didn’t have any story ideas.

Not one.

Sometimes, I pull ideas for these prompts from past story ideas, ones that have been rolling around in my head or on my notebooks for years. But the most recent prompt, returning to the routine, didn’t lend itself to any of my past ideas.

For about three minutes, I sat there. I looked at the prompt, I looked at my blank post, I checked Facebook to see if any of my friends had posted anything to spark an idea.


Now, I turned my chair to face my wife who was sitting on the couch doing some accounting work on her laptop. She looked at me, smiled.

Still nothing.

And then the dog brought me his mangy, old, stinky rope and wanted to play. Well, the story idea wasn’t exactly pounding down my brain’s door, so my dog and I wrestled for a bit until he got too excited and started barking. The girls had just gone down to sleep, so I quickly grabbed the leash and took the dog outside.

It was a nice night. Warm. Stars were just starting to come out. My dog and I made for the back yard.

Returning to the routine…

And then I had it. My main character would be a person who worked in a factory. They hated their job, but couldn’t afford to quit. What if something went wrong at their station in the factory, but instead of the faulty piece damaging someone else, they got it and it led to a settlement on which they could retire?

I still refer to this set of rules for writing flash fiction and this idea had everything, including a twist.

But where did the idea come from?

I’ll be honest. I have no idea. Inspiration is a fickle mistress. Sometimes, you just have to go about your life and wait for her timing.

Maybe my dog will inspire you too. Isn’t he cute?