Written by
Rebecca Elswick
July 2012
Written by
Rebecca Elswick
July 2012


Writers are often asked where so do you get your ideas? What inspires you?

Answer - inspiration is everywhere. You may say that’s a cop-out answer, but I have heard countless writers say inspiration is everywhere. I admit, there was a time I felt it was a cliché until I learned to look at the world with the right attitude. When I opened my heart to the world, inspiration was everywhere.

I am inspired by what I see. A box marked return to sender or an old rusty tin can discovered in the tall grass is inspiring. Both of those hold endless possibilities – why was the box returned? Was it refused by a former lover? And who dropped that old can? How long has it been there?

I am inspired by what I hear. Nothing sounds sweeter than the music of the forest at night; a symphony of sounds that goes on all night long. Crickets chirping, owls hooting, the wind whispering through the trees stirs your soul! And don’t forget the melody all of those sounds you can’t identify. Have you ever heard a sudden burst of laughter or a deluge of tears? Did it make you wonder why the sudden laughter or tears?

I am inspired by smells. The aroma of an apple pie baking can stir my creative juices and suddenly, I am creating a character sitting in a warm cozy kitchen, waiting to eat that pie, or I am taken back to my childhood and I am the person waiting for the pie to come out of the oven. A whiff of perfume or the scent of a flower can contain many secrets. Have you ever caught a scent on the wind and wondered what it was?

I am inspired by touch. A dog’s wet nose nudging my hand and the velvety softness of his fur slipping through my fingers tells me a story of the miles he’s run and played, the holes he’s dug, and the critters he’s chased. When you touch an infant’s skin, it leaves the memory of its softness imprinted on your fingertips forever. Have you ever let your fingertips tell you a story?

I am inspired by taste. Grandma’s chicken and dumplings or a scoop of my favorite ice cream evokes a myriad of memories. All I have to do is listen. The sweet taste of your lover’s lips or the bitter taste of your own tears can move you to words flowing down the page. Have you ever tasted fear? Happiness?

Inspiration is everywhere. We just have to open our hearts and our minds to find it. Many years ago, before I ever dreamed of being a writer, I saw this quote on a professor’s door while I was wandering the halls of a building, its name long forgotten, at Virginia Commonwealth University. At the time, I was a new teacher and taking a summer workshop. I don’t remember much about that workshop, but I never forgot that quote. I embraced it and have read it millions of times over the years. It taught me a new way to look at life, and it taught me that inspiration is, indeed, everywhere.

Attitude to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable is you have a choice every day regarding the attitude you will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it. And so it is with you. You are in charge of your attitude. - Charles R. Swindoll

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