My writing is focused on the everyday – the challenges of life and what it means to be a woman/wife/mother/daughter/worship leader/disciple for me today. I write out of experiences and the issues that are currently on my heart. But sometimes there are unexpected sources of inspiration that give me a jolt and make me go back to my writing with fresh vigour or a different perspective.
This Easter holiday, my ten-year-old daughter was working on a science project for school. She created a model of the solar system, researched facts about planets and then disappeared for a couple of hours – to write a poem. I had assumed she would write something about journeying through space and which planets she saw as she was doing so. However, when she shyly emailed through the poem to me I downed tools to read it, and was totally blown away. She had written from the perspective of a lowly star – although she didn’t make that immediately obvious – giving it real characterisation and emotion. And her use of metring was simply astounding.
My immediate response was: ‘I wish I could write poetry like that’. Friends thought the metring and certain turns of phrase were almost Shakespearean; one said it sounded like an iambic pentameter poem – it wasn’t quite, but then she hasn’t even been taught what that is yet! While I didn’t feel inspired to turn my own hand to poetry, admiring her talent and devotion spurred me on once again (she explained in those few hours locked away in her room she had methodically spent time writing, deleting, writing, editing).
It is wonderful to see the next generation of writers coming through – my daughter has an obvious talent (yes I know I’m biased but her teachers have recognised it too!) and loves writing and I know she will far surpass my own talent given the level she’s at already. But reading her work made me determined to be the best writer I can be too. I want to model something to my daughter; to share writing experiences and the ups and downs of creativity with her.
My next moment of unexpected inspiration came when I eagerly turned to Claire Dunn’s latest book Realm of Darkness. I’d been saving it for the holidays – and I certainly wasn’t disappointed! As I’ve said, I’m not a novelist and so I’m always amazed to see how she’s hung the whole series together (that’s a lot of pages she’s written so far!). I’m in awe of those of you who story tell so well (reading a great novel always reminds me of my rather disappointing efforts to write a novel while at secondary school).
Even though I don’t write in the same genre, there is much I can be inspired by and learn from, and Claire’s book made me think about issues such as sentence construction, overall story construction. I may be a non-fiction writer but my work still needs to hang together and keep the reader’s attention – and consistency.
Now over to you: what has been a source of unexpected inspiration for you recently?
Claire is a freelance writer and editor, mum to two gorgeous children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on discipleship, leadership, marriage, parenting, worship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include David: A man after God's own heart, Taking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Guide: Managing Conflict and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes a regular column for Christian Today as well as Bible study notes for BRF and CWR. Claire is currently standing in as editor for Families First magazine as well as co-writing the next CWR Insight Guide: Self-acceptance and working on her own book Taking off the mask. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.