The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway 2009, Day Three

wb3Welcome to day three of the annual Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway. One lucky winner will walk away with The Write-Brain Workbook by Bonnie Neubauer.

With The Write-Brain Workbook, you’ll never have to face a blank page again. This one-of-a-kind guide provides a full year of writing exercises and games designed to get thoughts brewing and the pen moving across the page. It:

  • Provides 366 ten minute exercises to build momentum and turn on the right side of the brain,
  • Helps you generate work by painlessly leading you into new writing every day, and
  • Stimulates creativity with a stunning 4-color package and easy-to-approach prompts.

About the Author

Bonnie Neubauer is the author of The Write-Brain Workbook, 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing, andBonnie Neubauer the newly released Take Ten for Writers: 1000 writing exercises to build momentum in just 10 minutes a day. She is known for her high-energy workshops that are packed full of inventive game like exercises and is the creator of Story Spinner, a hand held wheel that generates millions of creative writing exercises. Visit her website, http://www.bonnieneubauer.com/, and click on Story Spinner Online and you will have at your fingertips, gazillions of free writing exercises whenever you want (or need) one.

Here comes the question you must answer to be entered in today’s giveaway.

If you are new to the giveaway, please read “Da Rules.” Seriously, there’s a few picky things like we will only ship to U.S. addresses or if your comment is the wrong length I have to disqualify your comment (and I hate when that happens because it ruins all my fun).

Today’s question is…

We have worry and challenges covered at this point. Aren’t we all glad to hear it? But today’s giveaway book is about INSPIRATION. So, please share what inspires you most as a writer? You can answer in a list or describe the one thing that inspires you most or whatever. Anything goes. This is about inspiration, after all. Have fun!

Before you go! We have a cause to raise money for this year. Please read the story about the Applin family here and consider  making a small contribution at some point during the giveaway. We’re aiming for $100/day.

And don’t forget to read the rules! Several posts had to be deleted from days one and two because they were not the proper length. What is the proper length? It’s in “Da Rules“!

Thanks. This is fun. I’m so glad we are all doing it. 🙂

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66 Responses to “The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway 2009, Day Three”


  1. 1 Laura September 3, 2009 at 3:24 am

    What inspires me? Sometimes it’s as simple as an offhand comment from one of my kids. The phrase ‘screaming jewelery’ inspired the latest story I’m writing. Othertimes it’s a what if question. What if I found a portal into the past? At times it’s a memory, like the time I got lost with a friend’s dog. I never know just what will trigger an idea for a story or article. So, I keep pads of paper everywhere, always ready.

  2. 2 Meryl Evans September 3, 2009 at 4:25 am

    Considering I write non-fiction, I find inspiration in people, stories and new things. If I struggle with something or I hear of other people having trouble, I look at how I can turn that into a story. I love it when people email me or send me a Twitter tweet saying they appreciated the advice or how to in an article, and it motivates me to write more.

  3. 3 Pam Maynard September 3, 2009 at 4:48 am

    My greatest inspiration as a writer is my son Justin. He is 6 years old and his imagination has no end. He constantly rattles off story ideas faster then I can write them down. I write a majority of my stories and article based on things that have happened to him or about things he is passionate about (at the time).
    They say to write what you know. This has worked out great for me. For example, my son wants to play soccer, baseball, any kind of sports so he could be with his friends. My husband was against him playing sports. He works as an Xray Tech and sees many traumatic sports injuries every day. I took our argument (discussion) and turned it into an article “Seven Solid Reasons to Play Sports.” It is published in the back to school edition of Kidz Rule USA magazine.
    As a Christian, the Lord inspire me to write stories for Christian kids magazines. I have one to be published in May 2010. This story was inspired by my son and his friend interacting at a museum.
    Inspiration is like the cream in my coffee! It sweetens up anything I write!

  4. 4 Kathryn Lang September 3, 2009 at 4:50 am

    What inspires me? I have found inspiration from everything – a breeze, the tint of pink on the clouds before sunrise, my son sitting in the clothes hamper singing, a conversation in an elevator – I am only limited by my ability to see.

    Living a life that focuses on the good, positive and uplifting helps tremendously when it comes to unlocking inspiration. It also gives me the motivation to encourage others to find their positive attitudes and lives.

  5. 5 Renee Roberson September 3, 2009 at 4:53 am

    What inspires me most as a writer is that I can set my own schedule around my family while still earning income and doing what I truly love. It’s as simple as that. Before I had kids, working for myself as a writer was merely a pipe dream, and I figured I’d spend my days writing press releases at a PR firm or covering the city beat at a daily newspaper. But with my first sale when my daughter was still an infant, I had an “AHA” moment. Could I really get paid to write about questions I have as a parent and my observations of the world? When I found the answer was yes, my horizons broadened greatly.Life has proven to be the greatest inspiration of all for me.

  6. 6 Fawn September 3, 2009 at 5:33 am

    This is very cliche, but my kids are probably my biggest inspiration. It only makes sense since my life is centered around them right now, and kid/mom topics have a wide audience of readers. I’m also inspired by other moms/women who are doing great things. Although not all of my inspirations lead to words being actually put on paper, the littlest things can get my “internal writing” started. A unique sight, a flash from the past, or even a smell or a noise can inspire me to start writing in my head as I go about my daily duties.

  7. 7 Maribeth September 3, 2009 at 6:07 am

    I am most inspired by my life experiences. My family, friends, co-workers and just about everyone I connect with inspires a story. I also find that nature inspires me in the sense that it frees my mind and helps me recognize how simplicity could be the best gift you give yourself. I guess I can be inspired by anything and everything. I think once you commit to becoming a writer, you discover every situation, every setting, every person, every emotion has potential to become something.

  8. 8 Cheryl M September 3, 2009 at 6:46 am

    I am inspired by the moms in my everyday life. There’s a mom with three kids next door who fits working into her life. There’s the single mom who has two kids and works. There are the moms on momwriters who face multiple challenges and keep on writing no matter what. Also, I want to be an inspiration for my three girls and show them you can follow your passion and still be a mom.

  9. 9 Jan Udlock September 3, 2009 at 6:47 am

    What inspires me? My goal for inspiration is for someone to comment on my writing and tell me that it helped them be a better mom or maybe helped them understand themselves a little bit better.
    I haven’t had that happen yet so currently, success is my inspiration. I’ve been blessed by selling my parenting articles.

    Jan

  10. 10 Brianne A September 3, 2009 at 6:53 am

    My biggest inspiration as a writer is my son. I want to be great for him, and I want to show him that it is possible to do something that you love and make a living at the same time. I am also deeply inspired by music, books, and photographs. When I see or hear something beautiful, it really gets my mind going and opens the flood gates of creativity.

  11. 11 Krysten H September 3, 2009 at 8:06 am

    My biggest inspiration as a writer is not a person, but the act itself. More specifically when it all comes together and the writing just begins to flow. My favorite part is when I’m up late at night (because I’m not even looking at the time) just typing away and the words are coming faster than my fingers can keep up. It’s is an especially gratifying feeling when you feel you’ve been hitting a brick wall with a story or plot line. Whenever I’ve been struggling with a piece of writing and suddenly it comes together, that is the best feeling in the world. It’s a feeling of triumph and also a feeling of “I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this!” That is what keeps me going on the days when the writing isn’t flowing and every word is a struggle and every other word gets deleted. Having one good, productive writing day makes all the other slow ones worth it. I just wish the good days weren’t always so elusive.

  12. 12 Cathy C. Hall September 3, 2009 at 8:08 am

    I like that when I write something I think is funny, other people thinks it’s funny, too. (Or scary, or interesting, or bittersweet, etc.) That inspires me to write.

    I like to get up in the morning and love what I get to do all day.
    (and the pj thing is pretty awesome.) That inspires me, too.

    And I really like it when I work on something, maybe get rejected, but finally sell it. (Getting paid is pretty awesome, too.) Those kinds of acceptances inspire me to keep writing. Every day.

  13. 13 Abbey September 3, 2009 at 8:13 am

    As a non-fiction writer, I tend to come up with my best ideas when I have a question or want to know more about a certain topic or place and I can’t find the answer that I’m looking for. I also find lots of inspiration in daily family life. Raising two preschoolers with another one on the way provides *lots* of interesting material!

  14. 14 Jaymie September 3, 2009 at 8:16 am

    I am inspired by books – which is one of the reasons I created a book review blog. I love books. I love discovering new authors who tell stories and create characters well. I especially like books for children – either picture books with great illustrations and fun, engaging stories or books for older readers that encourage and inspire kids to be who they are and to make a difference in the world around them (whether that is their home or their school or their community).

  15. 15 Emily September 3, 2009 at 8:17 am

    I, too, am inspired at this point in my career by the flexibility writing offers me as a mom. I can pursue a career I love and still be home when my son is home, whether that’s after school, on a sick day, on a holiday or teacher in-service day, or all summer long. He can be home in the afternoons and play with the neighbors and just be a kid. I can take him to soccer practice and piano lessons. I can volunteer in his class and go on field trips and help out with the school auction. I can get the grocery shopping and laundry and cleaning (full disclosure: I’m not that great with cleaning!) done and still have time to spend with my family in the evenings and on weekends. And with all this, I still feel fulfilled as an individual because I’m always being challenged and learning and meeting new people and producing work that (usually) makes me proud. It’s the best “mom job” I can imagine!

  16. 16 Catherine M-Y September 3, 2009 at 8:19 am

    What inspires me are my grandparents who all passed away before I was born. I only know they from stories I can coax from my family. My family is full of dark secrets, passion, temper and ambition. When I write, I am inspired by my maternal grandmother who was married at 13, had twins by 16, was widowed by 35 and passed away at 39. I think of my maternal grandfather who wed a 13 year old when he was 53 and died when my mother was in high school. I am inspired by my father’s parents who both died when he was 15 leaving him to raised by his older, flamboyant sisters. They are gone but their stories live on.

  17. 17 Mardougrrl September 3, 2009 at 8:37 am

    What inspires me? People watching. Music that triggers memories of my youth (my version of Proust’s madeline is a Nirvana song or salsa song from the 70s). Reading, reading, reading. My daughter. Watching the world change. My family history. Combining ideas and offhand wisps of dreams into something solid that I can build. People’s creativity and inherent kindness.

  18. 18 Cara Holman September 3, 2009 at 9:04 am

    My greatest inspiration for writing is a call for submissions, a topic, a wordcount, and a firm deadline. Especially a deadline. Nothing motivates me like knowing a piece must be completed by a certain date, or else it’s out of the contending. The sooner the deadline, the better, as it keeps me from doing what I do best: procrastinating.

    In fact, I do some of my best writing in my writing group, where we are given a prompt and generally 15-30 minutes to write. There is just something about knowing that you will be reading your piece aloud in a short time to a live audience that gets those creative juices flowing. When I get stuck on a piece I’m writing at home, all I need to do is pretend I am writing for an audience, and that is generally enough to get me back on track.

  19. 19 Beth Vogt September 3, 2009 at 9:08 am

    The best inspiration comes from my writers group, Inkspired.
    It’s gone through a number of variations in the past seven years as members came and went. Right now, only two original members remain: me and Scoti. And this past summer, we added our first male member, Mike.
    Being in a crit group broadens my persepctive. The weekly critique sessions challenge me and change my writing more than anything I’ve done. And when I brainstorm an aritcle or chapter for a book, I come home loaded with ideas–simply drenched in inspiration!!

  20. 20 writerinspired September 3, 2009 at 9:10 am

    My sources for inspiration change almost daily, depending on my mood or the phase I’m in. I “heart” lists, so here is mine:
    · Journaling my joys or sorrows inspires essay topics
    · Observing people inspires fiction plots
    · Watching the news inspires my need to “unplug” and curl up with a good novel
    · I’ve been reading more YA and Teen fiction, which inspires my passion to teach young writers
    · hellomynameisscott.com site, blog and books are a new craze for me and provide OODLES of inspiration to dream, reach and plan!
    · Authors I’ve been interviewing on my blog light that longing in my heart to publish a book
    · My husband, sons and family/friends’ excitement at my writing successes inspire me to “never give up.”
    · My fellow writing buddies (met thru Christina’s WPSS class Spring’08) inspire me with their goals, accomplishments and relatable rejections. We are a thriving community of mom writers!

  21. 21 Kristen R. Murphy September 3, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I find inspiration with the excitement of my #2 pencil gracefully writing my words down on paper. As I write in my journal about my day, I have a “refreshed” feeling as I have completed the day and I’m all ready for the following day to arrive. Writing, in general, keeps me going; inspires me to write more.

    I find inspiration for stories from past experiences and through my three girls. They really crack me up sometimes! As a reader, I love the stories of real people with hardships whom have conquered in the end. Those stories inspire me to tell my story. I think I just inspired myself! 🙂

  22. 22 Lisa Vratny-Smith September 3, 2009 at 9:29 am

    I am inspired most in my writing by my children. They are two fabulous big brained boys who are stunning reflections of my life. They challenge me, inspire me, amaze me, and at times exhaust and exasperate me. Being their mom pushes me to work harder at being a better parent and a better person; to know myself more and be the mother I want to be demonstrating the values I want them to emulate.

    They are teaching me to go deeper into aspects of myself I thought I’d already figured out. Writing about them and their influence on my life helps me finds more of myself and hopefully build a community of support for other moms through my blog.

    As I write about my own imperfections and struggles as a parent, I am able to be more compassionate with myself and set that same tone for others. None of us are in this alone, even though it often feels that way. Writing brings me insight, solace, and understanding. Interweaving parenting and my practice and teaching of yoga provides an abundance of inspiration for my writing.

  23. 23 Desire September 3, 2009 at 9:41 am

    I love being a writer. Everything that I see snd experience can be a source of inspiration if I make myself available to the opportunity. I make it a habit to observe the people and happenings around me. Then, I create short scenarios about them. I find interesting people, historical figures, strangers, and friends, science (facts, current events, new developments), and art greatly inspiring when I’m in search of writing material.

  24. 24 Janel September 3, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Inspiration for my non-fiction writing can come from anywhere – tv shows, a photograph at an art fair, an interesting outfit worn by a stranger at the grocery store.

    Also, calls for specific submissions can also be a great kick in the pants. While I might not currently have any work that fits into a magazine’s proposed theme, the idea seeds are often planted. Plus, knowing that I have a much greater chance at having an article accepted because I’ve done my homework and produced what they are asking for is a great source of inspiration. A paycheck is always inspiring!

  25. 25 Carrie Ure September 3, 2009 at 9:57 am

    I am inspired by life, the everyday occurrences that make it interesting and beautiful, especially the little things. Small acts of heroism or kindness, the funny things my twelve year-old says, the synchronicities that remind me there is a natural and benevolent order to things.

    I am inspired by the creativity of community. I am inspired by this contest.

    I feel that all ideas are divine, Spirit coming through us. When I feel any positive emotion, whether gratitude, awe, wonder, joy, I want to share my feelings through writing. Ultimately, I suppose I am inspired by love.

  26. 26 Beth Cato September 3, 2009 at 10:00 am

    I’m inspired by the joy of telling a story, and seeing that joy infect other people. There is nothing quite like getting an email from a total stranger who took time out of their day to say, “The last line of your story sent a chill through me, and I had to take time to recover.” Wow. Someone got it. That sends a chill through me.

  27. 27 Judy September 3, 2009 at 10:14 am

    I love reading what inspires everyone!

    For me, inspiration comes with a jolt, out of the “blue” – nature, something someones says or does. My constant source though are my children. Inspiration occurs when I am “touched”, made aware that something significant has or is happening.

  28. 28 Kristy Lund September 3, 2009 at 10:23 am

    My inspiration usually comes when I can’t write in that moment- I’m busy doing something with the kids, or driving somewhere and a story or a song touches me. The trick, as described in Writer Mama, is to write it down in the moment so I can get back to it. I’m usually good about writing it down, but I need to work on organizing (and getting back to) those little gems.

  29. 29 Bet September 3, 2009 at 10:39 am

    What inspires me to write? It depends on what day it is, but here is a partial list (in no particular order):

    -my kids
    -family life in general
    -my friends
    -a meaningful worship service
    -spending time outside, especially walking, snowshoeing, or kayaking
    -close and unusual encounters with wild animals
    -whatever I’m reading
    -a good movie with a message
    -quirky news stories
    -cold weather (I love to write by the fire!)
    -a visit to an art museum
    -listening to piece of classical music I’ve never heard before

  30. 30 Marie Cauley September 3, 2009 at 10:41 am

    I find inspiration in so many different ways. It can be a comment someone makes or something I see someone do. I am inspired by music and dance as well. Sometimes my dreams make it into my writing…I had a dream about an old classmate and it inspired a character in the novel I’ve finished writing that I am revising now. If my mind is blocked, I go and sit outside when it is quiet and just let my mind wander…a lot of the time it helps me get unstuck!

  31. 31 David Noceti September 3, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I know it sounds cliché but my inspiration is running around the house right now in his diaper. When my wife got pregnant it changed our entire world. One night while lying in bed, a long day of construction work behind me and a new one ahead, I had my hand on her growing belly. A flash of inspiration took hold of me and suddenly I needed to start writing again. I’d stopped writing after a third failed attempt to make it into my Alma Mater’s anthology. It’d been two years.

    That short story made it in and I’ve been writing more and more ever since. It started me on a process of finding my writer’s voice again. And now with him here, I can actually watch time fly by. It seems like every day he’s learning something new, always growing bigger. It’s a constant reminder that life doesn’t move by nearly as slow as we sometimes think it does.

  32. 32 Carolyn September 3, 2009 at 11:25 am

    I started writing again a few years ago because I found my birth mother and her family. Listening to family stories inspired me to write some of them down. I used the basic stories as a kernel and expanded (fictionalized) them into short stories. A couple of novels in the works (will I ever finish?) sprang from thinking about possibilities of what life might have been like for someone in similar circumstances.
    Poetry inspirations come from personal feelings, problems, emotions and nature.
    Right now I am major stuck in writers block due to several problems. When I try to write about any of them, I just get bogged down in the mire of the emotions from the problems. A phrase or two will rise to the top but then it just gets cut off. Plus the (hot!) weather in an uninsulated house and a noisy neighborhood adds to it all. Haven’t been able to paint much either. I hope I can get past this block(s) and get back to going with the flow.

  33. 33 Eve September 3, 2009 at 11:33 am

    What inspires me? My son, my dayjob, my life, my past, and pop culture. My son is a little bundle of energy, and it’s fun to see the things he picks up on. It’s great when he asks to watch a cartoon that I was into when I was his age.
    My life, well, my life seems boring, but I’ve actually had some great experiences that are begging to be put to paper (and hopefully into print!).
    And Pop Culture? Well, that one’s a given. I loathe “reality TV” but some of it sucks me in, like watching a train wreck. I know millions are enthralled by these people and events, so maybe I can work them into something… Just a matter of trying.

  34. 34 Dana September 3, 2009 at 11:49 am

    All kinds of things inspire me, including:

    – The occasional simplicity of life
    – The beauty of nature
    – Extreme stress or distress
    – My daughters who also write
    – My love for words
    – The ability to verbally articulate a feeling or experience
    – Sudafed (true story)

  35. 35 Lisa S. September 3, 2009 at 11:54 am

    My inspiration to write comes from many different things:

    …my 10 year old son and his amazing observations and opinions

    …a crazy husky puppy and all the mischief he makes and I know he’d like to make

    …being outdoors, and all that my senses take in, especially nights when there’s a full moon

    …listening to music that brings back forgotten people and places

    …reading anything, a newspaper, magazine, fiction, nonfiction, children’s book

    …my friends

    …my family

    …my life before having a child

    …art, theatre, movies

  36. 36 Shelli September 3, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Nothing inspires me to write more than going to a writing conference. I have only been to one (Christian Writer’s Guild, 2005) but just being around people who want to write, who are successful writers or who are part of the wrtiting industry reminds me that I love to write. I am a stay at home mom to a 3 1/2 year old and a 10 month old, so writing is often a very lonely process for me. Connecting with other writers, even if it is not at a writer’s conference, is what I need to get me fired up.

  37. 37 Liz September 3, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    After ten years, I was inspired to write again with the birth of my first son. There’s something about the experience of motherhood that makes me want to share my words. I find that my mothering stories have not only brought back the desire to write but they have also opened up my heart to other sources of inspiration as well, especially the time I spent in Japan as a younger woman.

  38. 38 heartwriter September 3, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Life is abundant with inspiration. When I over hear women talking at a coffee shop, see the sunlight dance in my garden, watch my children interact in their world…I am inspired. My inspiration comes while I am driving down the street, standing in my shower, washing the dishes, yelling at my children, being hugged. Inspiration comes in my sleep entertaining me with vivid dreams. I feel blessed to be inspired in many ways and at many times, but what inspires me most as a writer is something I can’t see, touch or smell…it is the Divine within me and for this I am incredibly grateful.

  39. 39 Pat September 3, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    For me, there’s nothing quite like the inspiration that comes from the perfect story idea. That idea may have been generated from a brainstorming session, an article I’ve read, or just talking to other writers.

    And when that light bulb goes off, it’s exciting, energizing, and gratifying to see your idea grow and blossom into a story.

    That’s perfect motivation for me!

  40. 40 Joanna September 3, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I am inspired by different things every day, but mostly I am inspired by my love of writing and the fact I can do it from home around kids’ schedules. I am inspired by (not necessarily in this order) the feeling of nailing a sentence, paragraph, page; my kids; a great book; a good article; a spectacular view; road trips; family dynamics; a parenting problem; a parenting success; my friends; my husband; my writer friends’ successes and support; seeing an article in print; hearing from friends they liked my piece (very inspiring!); saying I’m a freelance writer and believing it.

  41. 41 Donna September 3, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Being around other writers, talking about, and listening to others talk about writing inspires me. After attending a conference or a workshop I want to rush home and put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. I also get enthused when a critique group member reads a piece with a memorable word combination or an engaging character. It’s inspiring to listen to other members give critiques with suggestions to make a story, an article, or an essay better. Makes me want to make my own writing as good as it can be.

    More than anything, my grandchildren inspire me. My husband and I have been raising our two grandchildren for almost five years. My grandchildren inspire me to keep going and dare to dream, no matter what obstacles or tragedies occur in our lives.

  42. 42 Penelope September 3, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    When I read some especially delicious prose or poetry…writing I just want to hug to myself… THAT inspires me!

    I think that is what started many of us on this writing road… the “aaaaahhhhs” we had as readers and wanting a piece of that!

    I am (almost) always on the alert for words and phrases I can “steal”, rearrange and disguise to use for myself. 😀

    I recently wrote a poem that was accepted for publication. It was greatly inspired by two different friends and two different conversations. (Thanks, girls!)

    My final point is: critique circles. The day I opened up and started to share my writing was the day I started thinking of myself as a writer.

    Feedback I have received (both positive and corrective) has been true, inspirational fuel for my writing life.

  43. 43 Alane September 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I am inspired by the sheer joy of writing. For so many years I have been a ‘someday’ writer. Now I am grabbing the present tight with both hands and becoming a ‘today’ writer. Sure, it can be hard to get started, but once I do, the tug of story pulls me forward and I soar through the now of words. My characters come dancing out through my fingers, surprising me every day. Their antics inspire me to come eagerly back to the page. When I write nonfiction, I am inspired by the all the intriguing topics that I get to explore. The central motivation is always the pure pleasure of writing itself. I can say what I like, be who I like, or why bother? The process enriches me and I am glad to be alive, right now, writing this to you. I am a writer!

  44. 44 Jennifer September 3, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    This one’s easy (finally!). It’s definately my kids. So imaginative, creative, curious, emotional, instinctive, impulsive, honest, authentic, resourceful. Everything I want to be as a writer! They inspire me every day, so I always have to remind myself to be totally present when I’m with them, and not let the details of whatever writing project I’m working on knock about in my brain. When I really focus on them, that’s when they pay me back ten-fold — with ideas galore. The next best thing to being a kid again (wouldn’t that be nice?) is definately getting to spend the day with my little muses!

  45. 45 Susan Heim September 3, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    As a writer, my children inspire me! I know how tough it can be to raise kids. I have four sons: two teenagers and twin preschoolers. It’s not easy! But they inspire me every day to help other parents learn how to cope and appreciate their family. My books about babies help parents get through that challenging first year. And my books about twins provide stories and tips from other parents of multiples, who understand the unique challenges of raising twins. I love that I can encourage parents with my books to be a source of strength and information for each other.

  46. 46 Diane J. September 3, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Words inspire me. I love the way people string together words when they are talking or writing.

    I especially love fun words: discombobulated, amok, willy-nilly, conniption, contrived, ostentatious, shimmy.

    I get so excited when I read a word or someone uses a word that I’ve never heard before. I get to run to my mondo dictionary and look it up.

  47. 47 Amy Simon September 3, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    What inspires me the most is whatever I’m dealing with or learning at the moment. That’s what I’m passionate about and feel like I have something to contribute to. For example, if I’m feeling convicted about yelling at my kids, I’ll write an article about how to stop doing it. Or if I’m dealing with a specific homeschool issue, I’ll go with that idea. Writing about it helps me to process what I’m learning and helps to cement it in my brain. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, so it keeps me accountable to practice what I preach! I also get inspiration from theme lists that certain magazines put out. They come up with things I wouldn’t have thought of.

  48. 48 Jessica Varin September 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I’m inspired to create characters or personas based on partial conversations I hear in diners, bars, and coffee shops.
    I’m inspired to write about unique places I discover.
    I’m inspired by the emotions conveyed in music.
    I’m inspired by my art journal.
    I’m inspired by reading local authors-it reminds me that I’m capable of sharing my work.   

  49. 49 Julie S September 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I never, ever want to return to an office job. Ever. Really.

    That is what inspires me to keep going.

    When the going gets tough, I think how much tougher it would be if I had to drop my kids at daycare and go work on someone else’s schedule.I am blessed with the opportunity to stay home with my children and I want to be there for them whenever I WANT to be there.

  50. 50 Stephanie September 3, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I am inspired by other writers, without a doubt. Writers I know, writers I’ve never met, my online writers group, writers of the best and worst books and articles and essays and poetry I’ve ever read, and writers of everything in between. The joy and satisfaction that reading other writers’ words brings me is matched in intensity only by the joy and satisfaction putting my own words to paper brings.

  51. 51 Lisa H. September 3, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Right now I’m a writer and artist in creative recovery so I’m finding inspiration in destruction—destruction and reconstruction of the “rules” that I’ve lived by for so long that have kept me in creative arrest. I recently invested in Keri Smith’s book Wreck This Journal and have had a wonderful time destroying it.

    As a perfectionist, I’m learning to find beauty in ugliness, fragmentation and imperfection.

    As a creative nonfiction essay writer, I find inspiration in life’s uncertainties and complexities.

    As a collage artist, I find inspiration in juxtaposition and surprising connections.

  52. 52 Janet September 3, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    What inspires me is when I tell someone I write and they get all excited and interested. They ask questions and they want to know what I write. I went to a school once and read a chapter of my manuscript that hadn’t even been published. It was a historical fiction and I brought items in that people used in the story. They were so excited and inquisitive and they loved my story. It inspired me to continue to try to get it published.

  53. 53 anna September 3, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    My inspirations seem to change with the seasons. So right now what inspires me is dashing to the lake after work to soak up a few of the last days of summer sun. This is what that inspiration led to the other day, as I lay there:

    “A Rowing Rondeau”
    In front of me two boats I see,
    Kayakers paddling merrily.
    Near these two, three, in a canoe,
    Row, row their boat, to catch the two,
    So all can like a dream-life be.

    Me, I observe it all closely,
    Thinking of how time slips past me.
    For soon Fall’s chill will cause to “shoo,”
    These boats I see, in front of me.

    Yet I envision this not sadly,
    But with a certain Autumn glee.
    For how could one grow glum and blue
    When all’s awash with brilliant hue?
    With Nature shining vibrantly,
    I sure won’t miss these boats I see!

  54. 54 Cathy Welch September 3, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I find inspiration by paying attention. May seem simplistic, but it’s true. A snippet of conversation, a memory – good or bad/unique behavior, funny situations or out of the box, strange occurences. Old houses, especially the falling down variety and cemetaries spark my imagination. Strollng through cemetaries is a great way to find unique names and interesting sculpture with images that mean more than most people realize. I find humor in many of life’s experiences that send me straight to my journal or laptop, and sometimes I have to pull the notepad out of my purse and write about it on the spot! Thanks for the opportunity to share, Christina! Cathy

  55. 55 Tricia Z September 3, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    What inspires me most as a writer are the thoughts and feelings whirling around in my head, demanding a way to escape! When I was a teenager, I felt lonely, as most do, and found that writing helped me express my feelings better than I was capable of doing with speech. As I was also an avid reader, I discovered that I felt a kinship to the writers of the books and poetry that I devoured. They had feelings too! They felt pain and happiness! They shed tears. it helped to alleviate some of that loneliness. I would say that the same thing continues happening even now.

  56. 56 Heather Myton September 3, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Life inspires me. The people I encounter, the places I go and the experiences I have are all fodder for my imagination and story lines. Sometimes my life inspires me to write a factual article about the young children I work with and ideas that I think will help parents traverse the challenges of raising children. Sometimes my experiences inspire me to jot a poem about the leaves tumbling across the playground. It encourages me to live my life more, so that I have more to write about. 🙂

  57. 57 Tammy September 3, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Inspiration comes to me in the form of my writer’s group. Each Sunday, I leave the table brimming with ideas and edits. Each week, my writing improves. I learn something new, and I teach something new to someone else. When I’m feeling blocked or unable to create, I listen to their works and draw inspiration from the stories they bring to the table. Each one has a particular strength in the writing process, be it vocabulary, plotting, description or character development. They share in my successes and my disappointments just as I share in theirs. When one of us does well, we all celebrate. They inspire me. I wish every writer could have a group like mine.

  58. 58 Kristi R September 3, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    My writing inspiration comes from so many sources.

    My writing inspiration comes from my desire to document my life. I want to record the love and pride I felt during my son’s first school play. I want to re-read it when I’m seventy-five, living in Florida and haven’t seen him for a year.

    My writing inspiration comes from my need to mull over a bothersome issue that has planted itself in my brain and is having trouble leaving on its own.

    My writing inspiration comes from the warmth that I feel when I have created a comfortable character or a captivating story.

    My writing inspiration comes from the knowledge that if I keep putting pen to paper, great descriptions, pictures and feelings will emerge eventually and pleasantly surprise me.

  59. 59 Laural September 3, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Life’s details inspire me: my daughter’s purposely mismatched socks, the smell of ripening blackberries this time of year, the feel of the grass under my hands when I turn a cartwheel. Questions inspire me: what does it mean when your hair stands on end right before an electrical storm, how long can I go without washing my car, wonder if anyone will mind me harvesting from the apple tree on that vacant lot? And weird moments inspire me, like the student who brought her rat to school in her purse.

    Reading good writing, the act of writing, and people reading my writing inspire me to keep at it as well.

  60. 60 Rene Eyerly September 3, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Inspiration! It might be easier for me to describe what does not inspire me. There are so many people to know, skills to learn, joy to express, and heartache to endure. I love it all. I appreciate the divine opportunity to experience and grow from all of them in this sublime and paradoxically beautiful world of ours.

  61. 61 chloe September 3, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    It was on my last dog walk tonight that I finally understood that my inspiration comes from different sources depending on what I am writing, which is why I did not have a clear answer right away.

    If I write poetry, I am inspired by a strong force that opened my heart. Love, loss, a beautiful walk, a beautiful art piece—may it be music, a painting, words on a page.
    If I am writing fiction, then the story itself is usually the inspiration, and as it develops and the characters take a life of their own, I get curious and want to know more and want to see where they will take me.
    I am writing a memoir and the inspiration there is not quite known to me yet, other than seeing the pages printed making a larger and larger stack every other week when I review it on hard copy.

    Certainly in the past classes have helped, teachers, coaching for a couple of months was really inspiring, reading a story and having it well received, but mostly I would say I feel alone in the creative process.

  62. 62 Sarah @ Baby Steps September 3, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    In thinking about how to answer this question, I realized that there is a difference between what “motivates” and what “inspires” me as a writer.

    There are several things that motivate me to write: the enjoyment and fulfillment that I receive from writing; the need to pay my bills; and the ability to have a career that fits in with my family life.

    However, my greatest source of inspiration is my loved ones, especially my munchkins. Watching them grow, learn, and love, they constantly provide me with the greatest inspiration.

  63. 63 Mar Junge, c3PR September 3, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    –This contest inspires me every September. I now have three years worth of replies…that’s 90 snippets I use to see how I’ve progressed as a writer from one year to the next.
    –Christina inspires me. Sometimes I’ll dash off an email in the middle of the night and she answers. She’s one hard-working writer mama! And somehow she finds time to give back to her profession and help other writers. Amazing.
    –My intern inspires me. A recent college graduate, she absorbs everything I have to teach. I work harder at my craft because I know she’s watching and reading my prose.
    –Failure inspires me. Over the last two weeks I invested time, money and considerable resources to prepare a new business proposal. The company contacted 12 PR agencies and invited six to make a formal bid. Then invited four to present in person. Last week they narrowed it down to two finalists who were invited back. We were one of the two. But we weren’t the one selected. Disappointing, but a great learning experience.
    –Being the sole breadwinner inspires me. If you have to feed a family and pay the mortgage with your writing, it’s amazing how quickly you improve, because giving up is not an option.

  64. 64 Kelli September 4, 2009 at 6:49 am

    I know I am too late for the drawing, but I still wanted to answer the question…

    As a child, I was first inspired to write when my mom gave me a little diary for Christmas. I was six years old. I love looking back at those candid entries I wrote throughout elementary school – my handwriting, eraser marks, spelling mistakes. It’s fun to see how my writing progressed through the years. I was also inspired by books. I love to read and loved how the stories would take me to another place as I envisioned the settings and characters and situations in my mind. The stories sparked my imagination and inspired me to create my own poems, stories, and plays.

    As an elementary school teacher, I wanted to foster that same love of books and writing and creating into my students. As a mother, I’m working to instill that love in my children as well.

    Since becoming a mother, I have also gained a greater appreciation for non-fiction writing and the importance of sharing real life stories, information, and ideas with one another. What a comfort it is to know that someone else has had the same struggles, the same questions, or has experienced the same joys.

    I’ve rambled too long, but just wanted to say that I’ve also enjoyed reading the other comments and have honestly felt inspired by all of you.


  1. 1 Day Three: And the winner is… « The Writer Mama Riffs Trackback on September 5, 2009 at 7:14 am
  2. 2 The 2009 Giveaway List: The Writer Mama Back-To-School Giveaway Starts Tuesday, September 1st! « The Writer Mama Riffs Trackback on September 6, 2009 at 9:02 am
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