From time to time I have to do what I like to refer to as “priming the pump.” Way back in the olden days, when water had to be pumped by hand from a well, you added a couple cups of water to the pump to help draw water up the pipe. This was called “priming.”

But when I use that term in regard to my writing, I mean that I need just a little help to spark some new ideas or to fully develop ideas, to invoke a certain mood or a specific feeling that goes with my plot. I often read something appropriate ( being very careful not to pollute the water with too-similar ideas! ) or listen to music that sets the mood. Sometimes I even put on a DVD or silently meditate upon my theme, my characters, my plot, etc.

Sometimes I simply need to shut out the world, to be by myself and let the muse do her work. By now I have confidence that the next story is already in there, just waiting to be let out. Very, very seldom do good ideas just “pop into my head”! Should this happen on occasion, I become suspicious that my brain is simply regurgitating something I’ve seen or heard before! I try to make my work as original as possible; however, I’m well aware that little is left that is truly original. We are bombarded by influences all our lives. And we are, after all, the sum of all our life experiences.

At the very least I aim for an original take on an old idea. So prime the pump as necessary and keep on writing!