Reader Question: Finding Inspiration

Hannah asked:

How do you get the inspiration to write books?

Like every other writer, I have an inspiration farm out back, and I go and dig up inspiration whenever I decide to write a book.


For me — and I think for a lot of writers — inspiration comes from everywhere. From books to movies to music to just experiencing life: inspiration is all over. Writers, like anyone else, consume stories, information, sensations, and store it in our brains until it’s needed again.

Lots are people watchers, sitting in cafes or airports just observing people and how they interact. Many collect music to fit the mood of what they are writing currently, or might like to write in the future. Reading widely allows us to not just study how other authors work, but stretch our imaginations and think in new ways.

But writing isn’t all inspiration; a lot of it is determination.

Most of it is determination, actually.

Inspiration is easy. It can strike at any time and get you writing in a whirlwind of excitement. But what happens when you’re not feeling inspired but you still have half a book to write and a looming deadline?

If you sit around and wait to be inspired to write, you run the risk of hopping from project to project, never finishing anything. Or the book taking years to finish. (And one of the most important parts of writing is finishing your book.)

Determination is what keeps you writing even when writing is hard, or you don’t feel like it, or you can think of a dozen things that are more fun.

Where does one find determination?

Before I was published, I found determination in my desire to be published. I knew I needed to keep writing and learning, and only when I was good enough would someone say “yes” to my project.

Now, I find determination in deadlines, and the desire not to starve. (Writing is my job. It’s how I pay for food, and food to feed my pets.) I’m also determined to continue improving. I want to keep learning, to keep writing better, stronger books. And the way I learn best is by writing.


Reader Question: Finding Inspiration — 7 Comments

  1. I love this post! Inspiration is something that comes easy to me (and for some reason, usually comes on a mode of transportation or a transportation hub, hmm), but determination – well, that’s something hard won. I’d like to think I’m determined enough to succeed!

  2. Yeah, finding determination is the real trick, I think. It’s easy to have a shiny idea and write on it, then never look at it again. Rinse and repeat 5,000 times and the result is no finished book, just a lot of random ideas. I’m still learning to find determination and how to stay determined!

    • You can do it! The trick (for me) is discipline — I write every day whether I want to or not. Sometimes it’s only 100 words. Often it’s more, once I get over the initial “blah, don’t wanna.” :)

  3. I have been scared for a while now to finish my book . What If I mess up ? What if I don ‘t do a good job .My family and friends know I love a good challenge . Why am I being so wishy-washy ? I have read all your writing advice. thanks for giving me strength !- Isabella

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