Please welcome my friend Cara Putman to Writing to Inspire. You might remember that I greatly enjoyed her novel Shadowed by Grace (read my review here) last year. The writing tips she's sharing today have encouraged me, and I hope they encourage and inspire you as well.
Inspiration: 4 Steps for Finding It
by Cara Putman
Inspiration is that elusive muse that writers chase.
I currently have a legal romantic suspense proposal circulating with publishing houses that is a great example of how inspiration isn’t always something that finds you. Sometimes you have to seek it. I spent months thinking and praying about what issue might interest me enough to write and live with it for a couple years. Then I spent more months beating my head against a wall fleshing out the characters and plot. During all of this life was continuing. Writing, teaching, homeschooling, lawyering, and all the other details of life.
With 20 books written, one in process, and a few more dreamed up, here are four steps I’ve learned that help when inspiration is a bit hard to find.
1. Ask the what if question when newspaper articles or other snippets of life pique your curiosity. My husband and I do this all the time as we see newspaper headlines. A recent situation was with the tragic plane crash in France. It was absolutely eerie how close we were in our what-if game to what really occurred. Playing with the what ifs can generate some interesting concepts that just might make a book.
2. Read non-fiction in your area. I found the inspiration for Shadowed by Grace when I was quickly scanning the recent non-fiction acquisitions at our local library. Reading about the Monuments Men in WWII got all kinds of scenarios playing through my mind. As I mentioned them to other people, I found they were as fascinated as I was. When the idea didn't disappear, I knew I had a winner and one I needed to chase down into a book.
3. Brainstorm with friends. This is a great way to take a concept or thought and begin testing it. There is an energy that comes from brainstorming. Not every idea will work, but as you play with them, you may find some gold in the nuggets.
4. Put your seat in the chair and start writing. Sometimes inspiration only comes as you actually write. It would be wonderful to write only when I felt inspired. However, if I waited for inspiration, I would have a fraction of my books written. It’s in the discipline of writing that my best ideas and writing come.
I hope these tips help you as you write. I'd love to hear techniques and tricks you use!
Cara C. Putman, the award-winning author of 20 books. FIRST for Women magazine called Shadowed by Grace, a finalist in the Christian Retailing BEST awards, “captivating” and a “novel with ‘the works.’” You can connect with Cara online at:
About Shadowed by Grace:
She found peace in a time of war.
Desperate to save her dying mother, an American woman accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy where she takes photographs dangerously close to the front lines during World War II. But Rachel’s real motive in this journey is to find the father she never knew, an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive at such a desperate time.
In her quest, Rachel becomes involved with what will become the Monuments Men effort to save great monuments and works of art from the Third Reich. Soon enough she will find more than she ever imagined—in war, in love, and in God.
"Cara Putman is a truly gifted author who offers strong characterization and quality research in her fiction."
—Tracie Peterson, best-selling author
Cara, thank you so much for visiting us today! I so appreciate your wisdom and hope to host you again soon. And of course I wish you the best with that new legal romantic suspense book you've got floating out there! May it find a home quickly so that we may all enjoy it along with you.
Readers, what are YOUR favorite tips for finding inspiration (for writing or other hobbies/jobs you might have)? Please share with us in the comment section.
Thanks for stopping by today! I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below. And don’t forget to drop by next Monday for my latest article.
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