Inspiration. Where do the ideas come from?

I’ve written a few books and stories in my life. Some have taken years to finish, others a few months. By now I have a method that I go through when I start a story. I take out one of my plotting worksheets, a conglomeration of various classes I’ve taken over the years, and start filling in the blanks.

I want to know my two main characters and their “core decision” or “motivation.” I figure out their back stories. Since it’s a romance, I know these characters will end up together, but how they get together, I’ve yet to figure out.

Writers are always asked—Are you a plotter or a pantser? For those of you who don’t know, pantser refers to those authors who write by the seat of their pants. Because I always start with a basic chart, I never thought I was a pantser until an online instructor told me I am.

She’s right! If I try to fill in detailed character grids or create a step-by-step outline, my mind clogs up. The ideas get stuck somewhere else. The story is miserable.

My best bet is to take the bare bones and start writing. Somehow the characters start driving the story. What happens and how it happens gets fleshed out. I’ve gotten better at it over the years. I’m learning to trust what comes.

My latest manuscript, Timeless for Turquoise Morning Press in September, was written that way. It’s in the hands of the editor. We’ll see what she thinks. My medium friend told me my spirit guides were helping me write the story. They were having great fun doing it. She even tells me I channel as I write.

Sure. I like to think that what she says is true, for the ideas come from somewhere, and I’m not sure they come from my mind. The words just sort of flow from my vision through my fingertips to the computer keyboard and onto the screen. It’s like magic.

So where does INSPIRATION come from? Anyone have a clue? It’s been a topic of discussion through the centuries. A quick glance at Wikipedia will tell you that.

Inspiration (from the Latin inspirare, meaning “to breathe into”) refers to an unconscious burst of creativity in a literary, musical, or other artistic endeavor. The concept has origins in both Hellenism and Hebraism. The Greeks believed that inspiration came from the muses, as well as the gods Apollo and Dionysus. Similarly, in the Ancient Norse religions, inspiration derives from the gods, such as Odin. Inspiration is also a divine matter in Hebrew poetics. In the Book of Amos the prophet speaks of being overwhelmed by God’s voice and compelled to speak. In Christianity, inspiration is a gift of the Holy Spirit. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 So inspiration can come from God, the Holy Spirit. I like that, for it was from God that I derived what little bit of writing ability I have. And spirit guides are of God, aren’t they?

All I can say is that I’m blessed by God to be able to write stories, to create, to be inspired, and to do something that I love.


  1. Cheryl norman says:

    I am exactly the same! I plot and plan, but mostly I just write. So I guess that makes me a pantser, too.

    Regardless of your process, you write good stories and I enjoy them all.

  2. Thanks, Cheryl. you’re a good friend!

  3. I absolutely agree with this, Jan. Thank you for the reminder!

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