Life as Inspiration Part 2 by Carol Harrison

Searching for the ideas that surround us can be like a treasure hunt. We may find something in nature that inspires a blog post, devotional, or gives us a setting for a story. Our people-watching can provide characters in our stories. Our Bible reading gives us a grounding for our lives in living the way God desires His followers to live and helps us put the verses together with everyday life examples for devotionals.

Let’s look closer at places to find inspiration for writing in the everyday moments of life.

  • People-watching: I tell my family they are fair game to appear in a story or as an illustration when I’m speaking. It might be something they say or do. A few are not so sure about this, but I always make sure before I share their lives with others. However, people other than family who we see at the store, walking down the sidewalk, or anyplace we happen to be can give us ideas for characters. An example was a time I sat and waited in the Edmonton train station. An older lady in a wheelchair hung around the station and spouted some crazy ideas. She bothered the security people who seemed to know her and I began to pay attention to her. She was quite a character and I wished I knew more of her story. However, I could invent one.
  • Reading: We’ve all heard the saying that writers need to be readers. Have you ever read something that sparked an idea for your own writing? I have read things in books, even light fiction, that made me stop and think. I began to journal my thoughts. One time those journaled thoughts sparked an idea for a story that turned into the novel Memory Making Moments.
  • Listen: An idea might come from the song lyrics we’re listening to or snatches of conversations we overhear. Coffee shops are great places to sit and listen. You never know what you might hear. Ideas could come from conversations we have with someone else, a sermon we hear, a podcast, or even a television show. Jot those ideas down and see where they might fit into a story. Listening to how people say things also gives us ways of making our characters’ dialogue more believable.
  • Life Stories: We all have a story to tell. It might be a family story passed down from one generation to the next. I have used some of these in my devotionals and in stories as well. It might be our own life that has a story that needs to be shared with family or beyond. Sometimes we discount our own life happenings because we’ve lived them. But others might not have those same experiences. Even everyday life can be used to make our characters’ lives believable too.
  • Travel Journals: For those of us who have ever kept a travel journal from a vacation, we have ideas that might be useful for devotionals, settings, or blog posts. Rereading them gives us reminders of what we saw, heard, and experienced.
  • Old Letters, Journals, Documents, Photos: We might still have old letters we received or old love letters we exchanged with our spouse that we can reread and get ideas for stories. In my husband’s family there are many documents and old letters that have been saved for a few generations along with old photos. These provide a wealth of information to give accurate details to stories and articles. Old photos, even if we don’t know the people, give us ideas for clothing and hairstyles of that time period. Documents give historical accuracy to our writing. All of these can also spark ideas for creativity and inspire us to write.

Life as inspiration means the ideas for creativity and writing are all around us. We just need to pay attention, give ourselves reminders through notes or photos, and then sit down and write. Then write some more. We can have fun exploring the possibilities as we find inspiration in our everyday life.

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