Friday, March 5, 2010

Weekend Inspiration

I'm sure many of you subscribe to Writer's Digest, but I wanted to highlight a point of interest from the latest issue--from the article Why Inspiration Matters by Fred White.

This article got me thinking about all the places I find inspiration. Paintings, song lyrics, the music itself, books, overheard conversations [White says "People are walking, talking stories." So true!]. I always keep a small notebook with me so I can jot down what pops into my head. Even if I don't use it, I like to see what came from my brain because of an encounter with something.

"Inspiration turns reading into creative reading."

How true is that statement?! As writers, we can't help but get inspired by the words on a page. As we read, our creative juices get stirred and we itch to tell a story of our own.
How many times have you dog-eared a page so you could come back to it later? I even find myself doing that to my library books so I can write a passage down before I have to return it. I have those little Post-It sticky tabs that I use to mark truly inspiring pages, and I refer to them when I'm writing. If I need to get in a sad mood, I find a section I remember to be particularly heartbreaking or emotional and re-read it. Books like A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks, or Love Story by Erich Segal are heartbreaking in places. If I need to write a kissing scene--well, I have lots of books marked for those. Teehee. Some of my favorite kissy-type scenes can be found in Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick [hello Patch, hello tension], Austenland by Shannon Hale [take-your-breath-away romantic dialogue], and believe it or not, I marked a scene in Eclipse [Twilight #3] by Stephenie Meyer [I know, I know, but it gets your heart pumping].

What books do you turn to to get a boost for your own writing? Is it for the language, the tone, certain actions you struggle to put into words?

Felice venerdi!


  1. I have a friend who treats her novels like textbooks. She writes notes, dog tags, highlights. I'd like to do that, but haven't been able to bring myself to write in a book. Maybe I need to buy two copies.

  2. I love that you do all of those things, because now I don't feel so crazy for doing them too! ; )

  3. I suppose I've never really thought about actually marking a book or leaving a Post-It note in one like that before, but I can totally see the value in doing so.

    I know that when I'm feeling stuck creatively, I usually take some time and re-read Pam Houston's "The Best Girlfriend You've Never Had." I love that story and it always seems to help me with my tone and voice. I don't necessarily try to mimic her style, but my writing is relatively similar (in an abstract, roundabout way...), so it helps.

    That being said, I think I'll start marking my books with Post-It notes. Seems like an incredibly valuable resource...

    Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Oooh, Love Story! Such a heartbreaker. I read it when I was fifteen and I cried so much, I thought I was going to get dehydrated. It was worth it!

  5. Patti - Maybe you could just write page and paragraph numbers as a list on larger Post-it notes (I like the ones that are about 3"X6"ish) and stick it just inside the book. That way you don't feel like you're junking your margins, but you have a reference sheet for which pages inspired you most.

    Kim - we're twins, you know. :)

    J.M. - I think it's a habit I got into back in school, and it translated over to pleasure reading. It's definitely come in handy!

    Ellen - My high school English teacher called Love Story a "beach towel book"... because you need WAY more than a tissue!

  6. Yoo-hoo...I have an award waiting for you at my blog. :)