There are several people who work behind the scenes at Inspira and we want you to hear from them! This is the first post in a series that focuses on inspiration and where each of us finds it. Today you will hear from Heather, one of our assistant editors. She is a millennial, a firecracker, and a working mom of three.
If you have other things in your life—family, friends, good, productive day work—these can interact with your writing and the sum will be all the richer.
– David Brin
I started keeping a diary when I was six years old. As soon as I was able to write and “spell” (e.g., Deer jernel, today I went to chirch…), I started writing my thoughts on paper. This continued throughout high school, and even into college. Around middle school I realized that not only was I a decent writer, but I was also fiercely passionate about the world of words. It was cathartic and soothing during my times of hurt and heartbreak, and was a safe place to gush about new loves and future dreams. Writing was my home. I decided becoming a “writer when I grew up” was the next logical step.
Now, here I am. I guess you could call me a grown up, but to that I say, “not quite.” I’m a part-time writer, part-time editor, and full-time mom. When I’m not waking up with a nursing baby, putting Band-Aids on the preschooler who’s learning to ride her bike, or negotiating with a two-year old genius, you’ll find me behind a computer screen, typing away, or furiously making red marks on a first draft manuscript.
When I’m actually writing (as opposed to editing), I’ve got to work from personal inspiration. As writers (creative artists of our own league), we all do! In order to produce high-quality, poignant, and insightful content, you must have a source of inspiration at the foundation. As a six-year old, it was in what I did that day or how I was I feeling about my siblings at that very moment. Now, as a “grown-up,” it’s a bit more complex and can change from day to day.
It depends on what season of life you’re in (Do you have young children? Are you newly in love? Healing from an ended relationship? Thriving in your career? Grieving the loss of a loved one?), what you’re passionate about, and even how much sleep you got the night before.
Your source of inspiration, or “muse,” so to speak, is an integral part of the writing process, and it’s necessary in order to produce inspiring work. Although everyone’s inspiration sources are different, here are a few of mine:
- Other writers. What kind of language do they use? How does their writing make me feel? What do I enjoy about their writing? What do I dislike?
- My kids. Again, this is incredibly reflective of my current life season, but my children are my biggest source of inspiration right now. When I’m with them, and when I see them interact with each other, my heart feels the fullest it has ever felt. When I’m in the throes of sleep deprivation and just can’t seem to catch a moment alone and the sink is overflowing with dishes, I reflect on grace and selflessness and the reasons for which I was put on this Earth.
- Nature. Sure, it may sound a bit cliché to some, but the beauty of my surroundings—the sound of dripping rain, the crunch of leaves beneath my boots, the feeling of the sun prickling my skin—turns my mind into a flurry of passionate ideas and possibilities. It’s hard not be moved by the magnificence that surrounds me—even in my own neighborhood!
- Dreams. What are my hopes for the future? What implications do those dreams have for my family and those I love? How does my writing play into my future goals?
- Feelings. As a people loving and intuitive free spirit (fellow emotional lives-of-the-party, raise your hand!), my feelings are pretty important to me (if you ask my husband, he’d say they drive my whole life). Naturally, my emotions play a huge part in my writing. I find that I am most inspired to create when I am either incredibly sad or incredibly happy. Other strong emotions like fear, regret, immense relief, and gratitude also get my wheels turning.
- Observing the small things. Some of my best writing has come from observing tiny, fleeting moments and reflecting on their impact. When I close my eyes and envision the way a tiny, two-year old heartbeat feels against my chest, or the way my home smells in the evening when the windows have been open all day, inspiration swells within me. Look for the potential that exists in the mundane!
Remember, no two writers’ journeys are the same. What drives me is likely not what drives you. What’s important is that you create good work from a place that feels real, raw, and inspiring. I hope these words have motivated you to get out there, get inspired, and get out that dusty ol’ novel you started three years ago (or start the mommy blog you always dreamt you’d start). Inspiration is everywhere!
What inspires you in your writing? What places of inspiration has your best work come from? What does inspiration feel like to you?