My Inspiration

Monday, December 10, 2007
By Sharon Mortz

I’ve always known that I should write but didn’t start in earnest until my daughter’s death. Without that impetus I’m not sure I’d ever have started. But with a compelling reason--grief--I began pouring my feelings out on paper. But six years later, I face the challenges that every writer faces--composing, editing, publishing and marketing. One of the major challenges is new subject matter--inspiration. Inspiration is everywhere. But I’ve recently had an epiphany and discovered a couple of new sources.

Conversation and mundane matters: This is not new or unique but it’s ubiquitous so I mention it. Every conversation (including those overheard), billboards, advertisements, signs, or well you get my drift, is a potential kernel that could burgeon into a story. I’ve become better at listening and storing tidbits but to be safe, I carry a small notebook and my scandisk so I can record the scraps. These bits make starting the writing process easier and sometimes I find something new and fresh buried in the drivel I produce. No matter what, I keep producing, drivel or not.

Dreams: During a period of self-discovery, I began recording my dreams. Life has curdled my dreams, and though I may require a shrink, in the meantime, I have stories in the Steven King genre--questionable sanity but inspired.

Cartoons: Another bolt of lightening--I’ve never appreciated cartoons until recently under the tutelage of my grandson. I discovered that cartoons have a layer of adult humor. I find it freeing.

Walk: When I get stuck on a project, I let my project simmer like soup and go for a walk and voila new ideas surface from the cauldron. When I return to writing and stir, it is clear what is needed to spice it up.

But it is the Holiday season and my inspiration this month is Christmas--the “real” meaning of Christmas not just Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Though I have to confess that I was out at 6:00 am the Friday after Thanksgiving, shopping even before my turkey had digested. I give thanks for malls and credit cards.

My hope and prayer for the season is peace--if not world peace then peace in our cities and homes. I hope for fewer guns and clenched fists and more eggnog and ho ho hos!

In the alternative, there’s always shopping.

Sharon Mortz


Anonymous said...

Sharon, thanks for the inspiration tips. I always love hearing about ways to spark writing, and I've used a few of your methods before.

I also wanted to say how sorry I am about the loss of your daughter.

Anonymous said...


My favorite out of your list is 'conversation and mundane matters'. It's amazing what ideas I've picked up over the years listening to random conversations and observing people in daily life. Very helpful in character and scene development.

I'm sorry to hear of your daughter's death also.

Sue said...

You've pointed out some solid reminders. I especially like the tips on dreaming and walking. Even with snow on the ground outside, I should bundle up like a bear and escape my little writing den.

Also, when I can recall, I have a single, recurring dream. I'm sure it signifies some profound fear in my mind from specific experiences. I'll make sure to keep that one off the Internet. ;-P If nothing else, though, writing about it could spark ideas, or provide therapy.

I hope that writing helps you in some way with your loss. I'm certain nothing lessens loss, but writing is an outpouring for so many areas in life...Cyber hugs to you.

Angela Mackintosh said...


This is a beautifully written and heartfelt post. And so true.

One thing we share deeply is that our writing was spurred from tragic circumstances. And with writing, comes healing. I think Rosemary Daniell said that in her 20 questions piece this issue, and it is true.

Many things prompt us to pick up the pen, but it's something else that keeps us striving for higher writing goals. Although the underlying seed may stem from a need to understand, when we discover the magic and clarity through words, only then do we take it to the next level. That's what you're doing.

The techniques you mentioned are fabulous inspiration starters! I know the ladies mentioned some other points, but I LOVED the fact that you mentioned comics! I've been creating my own comics for years. Mind you, they're not the "typical" super-hero comics. In fact, comics have evolved. The type I do are just like my fiction writing, but put with characters, highly graphic, and almost like a movie. If you're interested...I'd love to turn you on to some comics that have inspired me over the years. They're actually graphic novels.

My own comics are very adult in content--meaning, they are a glimpse into my personal life with pictures that I draw of everything around me, as well as write. I mean "adult" because kids wouldn't care for them (they'd probably consider them too boring).

My comic inspirations come from: Daniel Clowes, Charles Burns, Julie Doucet, Peter Bagge, Dave Cooper etc. and are more of memoir-type "comics" than anything. Since you're into Stephen King, you may want to check out Daniel Clowes' book, "Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron," or Charles Burns series, "Black Hole." They are truly bizarre, but compelling. ;-)

Thanks for sharing your inspirations! It made me inspired!



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