Where Do Writers Get Inspiration

By: Ken Brown
Published: 8/11/2022

Sources of Story Inspiration for this Author

Sources of Story Inspiration for this Author.

You might wonder where authors get inspiration for their books. That's a great question. I can't answer for all authors, but what works for me is to expose myself to as many experiences as possible.

When I'm walking in the woods, I get ideas for a scene. At a birthday party, I might observe the interaction between family members. Is there tension between a child and his parents or between two siblings? Why? I don't have to know the answer, because I'm a writer. I can make something up. But I watch their faces. The smile disappears and tension develops in their posture. The favorite aunt appears and a genuine smile covers the relative's face.

When I'm in the backyard and digging in the dirt, helping the flowers grow, I try to remember the feeling of the sun on my back or the feel of dirt on my fingers. Is the soil hard to dig or is it muddy? These are all things I try to remember so I can share those feelings in a story. The times in my life when I've been to the beach. Is it a crowded beach or an empty beach? Am I by myself watching an early morning sunrise or walking hand in hand with my wife as the waves gently lap at our feet?

Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois
My wife and I were in Southern Illinois this summer and we came upon a section of a trail that absolutely fascinated me. The national forest service had created a stone stairway between two limestone walls. The walls and steps were weathered, with steps broken and unsteady in places. It felt like we were descending into a fascinating new land. Were we happening upon a mysterious Druid ceremony in a dark hollow? Or were we walking up onto a mountain plateau, a new home, a wonderful vista, or an exciting new start to life?

A set of stone stairs found in the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois.

Those steps will make it into an upcoming book.
I'm thinking of writing a short story about one of my characters. These stairs will play a role when I get to that story. Plus, another picture of a similar type of stairs during the same walk. Which is more hopeful? Which is scary? What are the natural walls like? Nature covered one with years of moss growth. Dead leaves litter the stairs. I can remember them being slippery in an area that stayed damp even on a hot day. The smell of organic decay wafted from the stones. The other shows weathered limestone. Look and tell me which gets more traffic.

Moss covered walls line a set of weathered stairs found in the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois.

Writers will listen to the songs of the many birds in a secluded creek setting. The buzzing of cicadas on a summer day. The croaking of frogs, which stops as soon as they notice your presence. A character in a story might hide from a bad guy and listen to the frogs and then they go quiet. How does the character react? How does the reader react?

Writers get inspiration from their experiences in life.

I'm enjoying the waning days of summer. During these last two weeks, the temperature cooled off, which helps me sleep at night and I can get outside longer not suffering from stifling heat. I wish you a wonderful day.

Write Every Day!

Kenneth Brown Author

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Photos by Kenneth Brown Author