Monday, July 21, 2014

What inspires you?

I just came back from a long weekend in the Rockies and the majestic views, not to mention the lovely weather were very inspiring. Luckily when I returned to Kansas we experienced some of the same cool nights and moderate days as I enjoyed in Colorado. 

I did some writing while I was there, and yesterday I sat on the deck pouring the words on the page for several hours. At least until it got too warm and hungry. When contemplating this blog and what to write that other writers might enjoy or benefit from I asked myself, "What inspires my writing?"

Nature is a big inspiration to me. When I've spent time outside and focused on the rocks, trees, birds and bees I am inspired to describe it on the page. Sharing a sense of place makes the reading (and writing) experience much more enjoyable, it opens the door to the story. By setting the stage so the reader can be there for awhile, the story can come to life.

Music often inspires me. It ignites my imagination and teases my ears and mind into hearing and seeing color and light, and of the sense of movement. Many films have glorious sound tracks that move the story deep into your bones.  Making your story audible for readers is great. If they can hear what your characters say or hear, then it's like eavesdropping on an intimate conversation or being in the proximity of the action of the story.

People inspire me, too. Humans are so interesting. Everyone has a story. Everyone is unique in so many ways. Not just physically, but emotionally, too. Have you ever come across someone at Wal-Mart or Starbucks or Dillons that is just like the character in my story? I have and feel as though this is the person on the page. I'll watch them and catch special mannerisms or voice, their way of walking or dressing may be exactly like I envisioned in my head. 

A good book inspires me, too. If I feel what the character is feeling, see where they are, smell it, taste it and hear it - then the author has written well. Reading a story that moves me and is real makes me want to be a better writer. I learn from the books I read, both good things and bad, but mostly good. I've heard over the years that there are no new stories, just new ways of telling them. That's probably true - the trick is for the reader to experience the story - not just read the words, and it can be kind of tricky!

So, be aware of what is around you - let your muse tune in with you - and write what is in your heart. 
Enjoy the journey, my writing friends.


Bonnie Tharp’s novel, Feisty Family Values was published by Five Star Publishing in hardback and released in February 2010. Patchwork Family was released in paperback by Bell Books Publishing in March of 2014. You can find out more about Bonnie & her books at


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Bonnie,

You've listed some excellent sources of inspiration for fellow writers.
I can't add much to what you've already said. I will mention that nonfiction articles and news will at times spark my creative imagination in fiction writing. Much of what I write is faction, a combination of fiction and fact.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Great point. I have been known to cut out an article and use it as a jumping off place for a story or character. Thank you for sharing.

Susan Oleksiw said...

We all find inspiration in different areas of life but we do find it. I draw inspiration from things I read, small incidents that I see in a grocery store or on the street. I don't wait for inspiration, but I like to be sure I'm open to the world around me, so ideas will come.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Perfect - Susan. Being open is definitely the "key."