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Friday, June 12, 2009

Five on Friday: Sources of Inspiration

When I interview guests for my other blog, Romance Writers on the Journey, one question I often ask is what led them to write their first story. It's interesting hearing what or whom served as inspiration.

I just returned from a walk with my husband. As we strolled along historical Highway 49 in our Gold Rush era town, I reflected on what infuses me with new ideas and a desire to spend time with my characters.

Here are my top five sources of inspiration:

1) Taking Walks

Getting away from the computer and venturing outdoors clears my head. The pressure from the many tasks on my To-do Lists and the ever-present reminders of household chores I should take care off no longer plague me. Instead, I find myself living in the moment, and a delicious sense of peace envelops me. Often scenes begin to play out in my mind, and I return home eager to capture them.

1) Visiting Historic Settings

Because I write Historicals set in Gold Rush towns nestled in the oak-studded Sierra Foothills of California where I live, I don't have to go far to view stately Victorian homes, red brick buildings and rock-faced structures, some dating as far back as the 1850s. On my walks to town or drives through neighboring communities, the past mingles with the present. With very little effort, I can envision my characters carrying on their daily lives on the very streets and alleys I travel.

3) Plotting with my Hubby

I'm a character-driven writer. Gwynly, however, sees the big picture. He's come up with great ideas for my stories. When I'm stumped or just need to bounce an idea off someone, he's the first person I seek. When I get published, he'll deserve a good deal of the credit because I've used his wonderful ideas throughout my stories.

4) Listening to Classical Music

When I write, I open iTunes, click on my writing music file and fill my little office with the works of Vivaldi, Handel, Bach, Beethoven and other classical composers. The historic pieces transport me back in time, and words flow freely, fueled by the amazing artistry of the arrangements.

5) Reading My Story

One sure way for me to be swept up in my story is simply to read a portion of it. Often, I'll peruse the scene I worked on the last time I wrote and find myself drawn right back into the action, ready to move forward.

This afternoon I was so inspired by the walk I took with my hubby/plotting partner though our historic town that I'm having a hard time forcing myself to tend to paperwork and other projects I'd put off. I'm motivated to get the must-do items done as quickly as possible so I can immerse myself in my imaginary world and commune with my characters.

• • • • •

What serves to inspire you and creates a desire to write?


Laura Frantz said...

Wonderful post, Keli! I know if we lived closer we'd be good friends. You've named so many things that inspire me to write. I recently read that walking boosts creativity so I try to make time for that each day. Music is another wonderful time transporter:) Also reading a chapter or scene spurs me on. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They bless and encourage me!

Keli Gwyn said...


I wish we did live close. I'd love to go to lunch with you. Better yet, we could take a walk and talk about our stories. That would be great fun.

What music do you listen to when you write? My favorite piece is Vivaldi's Four Seasons. It's playing right now. :-)

Jessica said...

Reading through some chapters of my wip usually helps jumpstart ideas. Sometimes listening to music does too.

Keli Gwyn said...


Reading my wip works well, especially if I've left my characters in a bad place and want to get them to a better one.

What music is playing when you're writing?

Anne Barton said...

Hi, Keli! I like to water my flowers and stroll around the yard--nothing too strenuous! :) And sometimes watching movies inspires me too.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Keli Gwyn said...


What type of flowers do you grow? We have a few. The lilac blooms were lovely but short lived. Right now the roses are a mass of color. In a few weeks the crepe myrtle will burst forth.