This past week, I’ve hiked the Blue Ridge Parkway, played car games and most importantly listened to my daughter recount stories from the kindergarten classroom and her perspective on life. She is an amazing storyteller, inspired by envy of the boy with 64 crayons to her modest 16 and complaining that her pen is not “participating” as she tried to write in her new diary. (She considers writing a personal relationship between herself and her writing implements. I am so proud.)
It caused me to reflect on what inspires my writing. Not the ideas that turn into stories, but the need to put the ideas on paper.
First, it’s cheaper than therapy.
Kidding aside, it lets me explore life through a focused lens. I can take an experience and examine it through a character and learn something about myself or express an emotion that I’m inhibited to share in reality.
We are the sum of our experiences: childhood, friends, schools, teachers, parents and family, co-workers, pain, joy and extreme sorrow. There will always be the question, “what if…” in our lives, challenging the choices we’ve made and the paths taken. What if you could travel those roads to where they go? Which roads would you chose?
Writing in any form is cathartic and even the tiniest bits of ourselves laid to paper heals our wounds or takes weight from our shoulders. My need to write comes from an OCD necessity to create stories. A fair amount of emotion from my own roller coaster life lands in the mix. One of my greatest sorrows landed in “Perfect Copy”, my need for adventure in “Wired”.
As writers, do we sully our emotions by using them in our fiction? No. It’s a means to safely share the deepest part of ourselves and connect with others. Our characters are real because they are a little bit of us and a little bit of everyone we’ve ever known.
The most important inspirations for my writing and life are my daughter and husband, both who keep me grounded. Without them, I would never have experienced my greatest happiness.
What inspires you?