A lot of people who write or paint or play music get asked where they get the inspiration for their creative works. My husband, a writer, was asked that recently by one of the people that I know. He always tells me in private that he doesn’t like people asking him that question. It’s not that he feels as though the inspiration is something that sets him apart from others, but it’s just that it’s such a common question. Everybody wants to know.

For me I never worry about where inspiration is coming from. There will be times when I find many ideas and many sources of inspiration around me. I take that time as a gift. I have a box of note cards, being in person who likes to touch things. On those note cards I write down those ideas when they come, thankful to my muse. Later I will develop those ideas into stories and poems and plays and yes even blog posts. Most of them end up in a binder, notebook or box.

I found seven things that really inspire me. Those seven things are mine, my sources, my fountains. Those sources may be different for you.

I am really inspired by art and crafts. Sometimes I will see the art made by others and at times it’ll make me feel so humble. I am interested in what people make using rope or ceramics. I become amazed at a ballet performance or an amazing concert. I go to galleries and museums and sometimes even cry when I see something that moves me. Other times I make music or draw or make crafts and it leads me back to the page.

The other day I saw this wonderful painting my husband made of some zebras. Their beautiful faces had such profound expressions. Brown and black and white mixed with subtle shades of caramel beige made up the zebras’ faces. Behind them brilliant blue skies and vivid rolling yellow grasses made their soft eyes glean. It was like the animal stood before me. I wrote a story.

I find such great inspiration in music. It’s incredible how 3 to 100 or more musicians can gather together, riff off each other, and generate a beautiful piece of music. This makes me feel so complete. The other day I was listening to a Bach playlist on YouTube music. It was so stately and so beautiful. I wrote a poem.

There are times when my husband and I go out places together and just enjoy being out. Many people say that a writer should carry around a notebook when they go out in order to mine their experiences at the time. Personally, I disagree with this. I used to carry around a notebook all the time and I found that many times I missed a lot of information, a lot of experience and a lot of joy busily scribbling away in a notebook.

Now, I make sure that when I get home from whatever place I’ve been, I take out that notebook and write about what happened to me: what I saw, what happened to others and all kinds of other things. Some other times, I will take out a piece of paper and a pen and list all the words that come to mind from the outing’s effects on me. The other day I was on the bus and I had an adult friend say hello. I wrote a song.

The past
There’s so many treasure items in the past that it’s like a gold mine. I know that the expression is almost a cliche but it’s true. The difficulties, the situations, and the successes all combine to provide material to use for the characters that you are creating in your story. I remember so many instances where I came upon failure and always found a lesson there. Other times I had situations that I couldn’t understand at the time, then I would write about them and the lesson would be there for me to learn. Finally sometimes I write to correct the wrong. Something went drastically wrong in my life that I cannot change because the person in the situation has died. So I write a story that resembles the situation only to give it a happy ending. And that way there is closure, peace.

People come into your life, and some stay, while others are only there for a season. Those relationships sometimes only come into your life to teach you something about yourself or about the world. Other times, the people stay so that you can teach them something and then they go. Your writing remains.

Emotions are difficult for me to write about. In order for me to write about my emotions, I have learned to use labels. It is necessary to know what emotion you are feeling before you write about it. What I mean is sometimes you think that you are furious but actually you are annoyed. I like to take an emotion and locate where in my body I feel that emotion. That combination of physical sensation with emotion usually gives me something that I can describe in a poem or story. Other times I see other people’s emotions as they try to cope with a difficulty and it inspires me to write a story or a poem. In November I was very angry about the results of the local elections. So I wrote a poem.

My husband always motivates me to write. He makes me see that writing can be fun as well as spiritually fulfilling. It is not always financially rewarding. But it is the best life. My friends helped me go to school and complete my bachelor’s degree with their support and encouragement. I learned about writers and authors and about writing at school. It was because of my friends that I was able to graduate with honors.

It is difficult to think about the writers whose works I read without thinking them as friends. When I sit down with the book that I particularly enjoy, sometimes I think and imagine that the writer is there reading it to me. After that I usually get inspired to write something similar to what I read in another’s work.

In my serials I usually use experiences that I had with friends as foundational material for what I’m about to write. Many of my friends become characters in my stories. Sometimes there were problems but they had problems that they could not fix and when I write about their problems in my stories I write a resolution for them that would have made them happy.

The Divine always inspires me. Looking up at the stars at night taking in the moon’s rays and sitting beneath a tree really seeing the wind moving the branches all cause me to become so tiny. At that point I have to write to send an explosion of joy, of gratitude.

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