By Jeanne C. Stein
One of the first questions every writer gets is: What inspires you as a writer? My very first response was: everything. But then I realized I was confusing inspiration with the process of taking an idea and developing it into a story.
Two different things.
The muse that sparks an idea can be anything. I get ideas from newspapers, television shows, eavesdropping on strangers’ conversations, other books. Ideas float on the air like dandelion snow. You only have to hold out your hand to grab one.
Inspiration is something else. Inspiration is what makes me sit down at the computer every day. It’s what helps me through the dark days when it seems I’m fighting a losing battle against the indifference of critics and sometimes even my agent and editor. It’s fighting the urge to give up when a brand new writer comes out of nowhere and wins that huge contract complete with movie and TV rights and a six-figure advance.
And then reading the book and realizing, it is that good.
Inspiration is that voice inside you that says keep going. It’s the message of my female characters Anna Strong and Emma Monroe that I want women to hear. It’s the voice that says women are strong and clever and capable of great bravery—with or without super powers.
So the short answer is a writer needs to be her own inspiration. She needs to have faith in her abilities and the determination to persevere. She can take strength from those around her, but ultimately, she is responsible for herself.
We are all our own inspiration.