Inspired by what? by Susan Sanderson

Tools of the trade
In the early days of this year contributors to this blog brought us entertainment, information, observations and more. Many have written about books they have read or their own work-in-progress. All of us start with a blank piece of paper or a blank space on a screen. Personally, I prefer to write using Word and then copy my piece into the blog before doing the final edits and revisions. I don’t always remember to update my original document with the final version as a back-up.
So how do we decide what to write about?

I can only speak for myself, although I am fairly sure that my experience is not completely different from that of other writers. What we read, where we go, what we look at, who we listen to and the memories, which might be triggered by our experiences, can all provide input to our writing.

Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books has a wonderful magical device, which allows him to remove irrelevant thoughts from his mind while he concentrates on something in particular – a Penseive. I had begun the year by making myself a ‘to do’ list before a relevant post appeared here. I have found that putting something on the list clears my mind from having to keep remembering what I need to do. Of course it is important to look at the list, prioritise and add new things. As I begin to write this the top item on my (to use computer jargon) random access list* on an envelope is ‘Make new list’. That is encouraging as so many things on the current list have been done, that it is difficult to pick out the pending ones.

People have different preferences about how they spend their time. I don’t watch television, but I scroll through Twitter, which I prefer to Facebook. I regard the latter as a necessary evil.

When I sat down to write my latest assignment for the writing group meeting this month it was a cartoon on Facebook which inspired something I wrote. As Deborah Jenkins pointed out different creative types inspire one another.

Sometimes we need to write to relieve our feelings. This month I wrote a few rhyming lines in reaction to some trees having been felled (in my view unnecessarily). It didn’t bring the trees back. It wasn’t likely to be seen by the perpetrators, although I did share it with my Facebook friends. Two of those I see regularly liked the post, but didn’t ask about it when I next saw them. One ACW friend used the sad button instead of liking the post. Her reaction pleased me the most. It was empathetic.

As writers we need to decide what to write, what form to write it in and whether and how widely to share what we have written. As well as inspiration we need discernment. Perhaps we should keep in mind the words of St Paul in his 1st letter to the Corinthians Chapter 2 to inform our lives as well as our writing.

I hope you have read all this month's posts on this blog, but in case you missed it here is a link to one with a beautiful song.

* In this case random access means that I can use any space on the paper to add items and can read from any point.

Susan always wanted to be a writer.  In 2012 she revived her interest in writing with a blogging project to collect the kinds of sayings, which were much used in her childhood.
Susan experiments with factual writing, fiction, humour and poetry.  She does not yet have a book to her name. Her interests include words, languages, music, knitting and crochet.  She has experience of the world of work, being a stay-at-home mum and an empty-nester.   She is active in her local community and Church, where she sings alto in the choir. She and her husband live in Cumbria
Follow her on Twitter @suesconsideredt


  1. I always do my writing in Word too and have got the hang of Blogger now so it's a good discipline. I always loved the Pensieve idea.

  2. Lovely post Susan and so true. Our inspiration comes from so many different places. I can relate to the point about writing to relieve feelings. I often write best when I am upset. It fulfils the dual function of producing more authentic writing and also relieving feelings. You have put this into words so well :)

    1. Thanks, Deborah. The verse I wrote may have been authentic, but I don't think it had any literary merit! :-D


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