Inspiration can be everywhere
Written by
Maria Murnane
November 2012
Written by
Maria Murnane
November 2012

I was recently at a Manhattan bar with my lovely friend Amanda, and I noticed something comical happening across the room. I pointed it out to her and said something along the lines of "I could totally write a scene about that for my new book." Then I whipped out my phone and sent myself a text message so I wouldn't forget.

Amanda saw me do this and asked an interesting question: "You writers really do find inspiration everywhere. How do you do it?"

I explained that the trick is to pay attention. She'd witnessed the same humorous scene that I had, but it hadn't occurred to her to make a note of it. Then again, she's not writing a book, but if she wanted to, that moment presented an excellent way to begin.

Life is happening all around us all the time, and it's filled with experiences that could greatly enrich our writing. A walk through the neighborhood could trigger an idea that helps round out a storyline. A stroll through the market could unleash a smell that makes a description jump off the page. People-watching at the airport could help you come up with the perfect title you've been struggling to find.

Once you open your eyes, inspiration can be everywhere. You just have to pay attention. And of course, write it down.

I jot down everything, even the idea for this blog post. After that scene in the bar, I thought this topic would be interesting to my readers, so I sent myself another text. I have a good imagination, but not a very good memory.


Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at


This blog post originally appeared on Reprinted with permission. © 2012 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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  • Jayne Martin

    You're so right and I always mean to do this and never do.  That's it!  I'm putting a notebook in my handbag right now.  Thank you.

  • Robin Rakowsky

    Thanks for this post!  It came up on my "blogs I follow" feed at  I actually do a combination.  I write down those items that I know I will forget...quotes or phrases that I think of that are too good.  But, I also use the "in the moment" technique too. 

  • Kristen Elise

    This is one of the fun parts of being a writer, in my opinion.  Life is research.  I sometimes do write down random things that happen, but more often it's the other way around: I'm in the middle of writing a scene and am reminded retrospectively of something that happened to me or that I observed at some point.  Then the real life experience gets incorporated into the book :)  I laughed at what you wrote here:

    I have a good imagination, but not a very good memory.


    I feel the opposite!  When I witness one of those, "you can't make this stuff up!" moments, it's often better than what I would have imagined (or harder to believe!).  Cheers!

  • Daphne Q

    Great advice. I'm going to have to start doing this!