Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Where the Hell Do You Come Up With This Stuff?

By Andrew E. Kaufman

A question people ask me a lot is, “Where the hell do you come up with this stuff?” The short answer is severe head trauma at a very young age, but the long one is… well, kind of long.

As a kid, my teachers used to yell at me a lot for being in my own little world. See, I had this imagination, and no matter where I was or what I was doing, there always seemed to be a Party of One going on inside Drew’s head. I liked it there, but my teachers, well, not so much.

The proof of that came when I'd get my report card. Year after year, the comments always seemed to be the same. They went something like this: Andrew is a bright young man, but he has a difficult time paying attention in class.

Problem? I didn't see one.

After reading this, my mother would ask me what exactly I was doing all that time, to which I’d shrug and say, “Just thinking about stuff.”

What none of them knew—and I doubt I realized it at the time, either—was that there was a storyteller inside me, one who was desperately trying to punch his way out, and that “stuff” was likely the beginning of my life as a writer.

I think as authors, that storyteller is what drives us, inspires us, and is likely the source of all our ideas. I know that’s where mine come from. Some like to call it “The Muse” while others refer to it as their “Inner Voice.” But whatever name we attach to it hardy matters because really, it's whether or not we choose to listen to it that counts. The ideas are always within us. We just have to grab hold of them.

Want proof? My first novel, While the Savage Sleeps came to me one night in a dream. Seriously. I literally woke up one morning and had a working novel ready to go, then I wrote it. Where did it come from?

Inside Drew's Party of One.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Drew. It's good to get to know you a little better. I'm having fun picturing you as a "odd" little boy.

    I'd always love to write, even as a kid, but storytelling didn't grab me until little later in life. Once it did, I was hooked. I'm not happy unless I have a story in progress.

  2. Nice post, Drew.

    I find being able to entertain myself beneficial. The trick is to entertain others—which you do quite well.

  3. Well said, Drew. I was like that as a child, too.

  4. Great post Drew. I totally agree that an author has to 'listen" to that inner voice and even engage it with questions. All of life's mysteries eventually are answered through constant questioning.

  5. Love it, Drew!

    I've been asked that question, too, many times.

    And hey, many things are revealed within our dreams. :-)

  6. Thanks for sharing, Drew! Me, I think I was just kind of ADHD in school! (Although nobody called it that then!) Distracted, not great at listening. Mind of my own. Loved to have my head in a book though - fiction, of course! So maybe not ADHD... Maybe just a pain in the butt! LOL

  7. I love finding out where authors get their ideas as much as what it was like for them growing up with all that brewing creativity inside. I used to think I was a bit crazy because I always seemed to think in sentences much like one might read in a book. Then I realized why! I think it is awesome that you dreamed WTSS. I recently dreamed a book cover and had to get up and try to find the pics to put it all together!

    I know I am just one of many that shouts hooray and thank you for sharing what's inside your head. It's kind of like getting invited to that party after all.

  8. I love this post Drew! So glad to hear I am not alone. I was a child like that and as I grew older, I was labeled anti-social. I guess because I really loved my own company.....well, not my own so much as my characters, who roam around in my head.
    Thank you for sharing this. It means a great deal to, your readers and fellow writers and authors.

  9. See, that's what I love about all my author-friends. They not only get me, they fully enable my peculiar ways. What more could I ask for?

  10. Yeah, and not only that, you have a way of getting people to reveal things about their childhood, too! Very sneaky. LOL

  11. I was one of those kids that understood everything the teacher said the first time. That left me a lot of time to day dream and make up stories in my head. It didn't surprise me at all to find the writer inside of me - along with an artist to provide some competition.

    I lived inside my head so much (still do) that I came to love the days when I felt REAL! Those days when I was out of my head and enjoying my life.

    Keep on dreaming Drew.

  12. I love this post, Drew. I've always lived in my own little world and I like it there. I daydream constantly, I entertain myself and I'm never bored.

    I think I've told you before.. I'd love to spend one day just riding around in your head. I'm sure it would be quite the trip. :)

  13. Oh, I meant to say "author AND reader friends". Can't leave them out. They totally get me. That's what I get for not checking the preview before posting.

  14. Wow, I can so totally relate to this. I grew up an only child and my teachers and my mom chalked up my "daydreaming issues" to the fact I had no siblings. My grandmother thought it was because I was a 7 yr old living in a 70 yr old's world. LOL.

    Who says listening to the voices in your head is a bad thing? Some of us use it to our advantage. Loved this one, Andrew!!!


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