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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Listen for Inspiration

I have escaped from the circus.

My husband gave me leave this morning to slip out before the kids had even woken up (thanks to a strategic stay-up-late free pass from Mom last night). I have five blessed hours to write uninterrupted, except for the occasional table-wiping, since I'm sitting at a fast food restaurant and siphoning their free Wi-Fi…at least until I start getting long glances from the staff. Then I'll shuffle over to the library. A writer's gotta do what a writer's gotta do. I'm working on a book manuscript and every second counts.

Unfortunately, the toughest time of writing hits right about now. Laptop is out. Coffee is hot and sugary and delicious. Fingers are poised on plastic buttons. The conditions are right and now I wait for the floodgates of inspiration to open and fill blank pages with wisdom.

So far, this is all I got.

It has me thinking about inspiration, about how the work of writing is sort of really just herding inspiration, catching a muse and riding her wind. Where and how do you find it? What can you do when the words won't come?

My advice?


Not to me, but…to everything.

Listen to the silence, to the wind, to music. Listen to your kids when they don't know you hear them, listen to what they think of the world. Listen to a bird's song or the conversation behind you at Starbucks. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Listen to the washing machine swishing around in circles and let it take you somewhere else. Let the rain on the window or the hum of the ceiling fan open doors in your mind. Get carried away. Daydream. Wonder.

And remember that hearing is not the same thing as listening.

Then, get it on paper. It may not be what you set out to say…write it anyway. Sometimes our writing is blocked because our brains are…because something needs to get worked out in our brain before the thoughts can come, like a clogged artery.

Take time to listen today, and write what you hear. For me, it's the chiming of the french fry machine and the rhythmic scritch-scritch of the worker's broom across the fake brick floor. It's the elevator music that reminds me of junior high school and the gaggle of uniformed FFA girls here on a pit stop and the slamming of bathroom doors as patrons shuffle through them. This is just sound, life-music, but it is full of inspiration, sparking memories and giving me much to ponder.

How do you find inspiration? 


  1. Now that I have my own "home office," it's quiet enough that I can hear birds singing outside, and the sprinkler turn on, and neighborhood kids playing outside. It's lovely :) Enjoy your weekend, and good luck with your book!

  2. I love this, Cara! and your words here inspire me...along with the new house filled with new sounds and silences to learn, my heart is READY to write and share and then again...some things are still marinating...such it inspiration, I suppose!

    Seriously...good encouragement!


Your comments are such an encouragement. Thank you for sharing your valuable words.