Inspiration – essential for a writer?


Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

Thomas A. Edison
Edison may very well have been right, but what good is the ninety-nine percent perspiration without the inspiration?

Where do our stories come from? Daydreams, life experiences, the people we meet, nightmares, what we hear, see, read, and imagine? Every author will have a response unique to their life experience and their interests. The answer, for me, is all of the above.

We listen to the news, read the paper, and build in current events. We laugh with friends and build in comradery for our characters. We yearn for love and romance and give it to our hero and heroine. The adventures we long for belong now to our players. The lives we’ve led, or wish we’d led are, in part, imbued in our characters and plot lines.

But there is another aspect to inspiration that is often unforeseen. As we write, our stories take on a life of their own. Characters develop and lead us in directions we hadn’t anticipated or planned. A minor character creeps in and takes over. We try to contain him, but he has a mind of his own and insists on playing his part.

The hero’s friend becomes our friend. The heroine’s fight becomes our fight. And as we edit and polish and rework our novel, we worry about our characters, love them, perhaps hate them, and can’t leave them behind. They become as much a part of our lives as are the people around us. They, too, are our inspiration.





8 comments on “Inspiration – essential for a writer?

  1. Well put! Many things inspire us as writers, the places we go, the people we meet, the stories we read and movies we see etc. etc. And those characters that just won’t behave as we planned!!!

  2. That’s so true. Look at Monique, my character in The Wind Weeps. I only put her in there to provide an “ear” for Andrea, and then Monique somehow became a much more important character as the story developed.I even went around the house talking to myself in Monique’s French-Canadian accent.
    Great post, Darlene.

  3. Without the inspiration, there would be no point to the perspiration, for me anyway. Our work needs to repeatedly rekindle the inspiration as the fire that keeps us perspiring.

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