#IWSG What Inspires Your Writing

This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.)

This month’s question —  When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

The awesome co-hosts for May 3 are Joylene Nowell Butler, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Meka James, Victoria Marie Lees, and M Louise Barbour!


Two pieces inspire me most when I am writing. The first is research. Since I write prehistoric fiction, I do a lot of digging into topics I know nothing about. I never fail to come away with a sense of awe for what I didn’t know and how it fits into the big picture of life.

The second is my characters. Once I’ve written enough about them to feel we know each other, I like to let them act like real people (which they are–at least in my head). They end up doing stuff I never could have thought up!

How about you? I look forward to reading your thoughts.

#iwsg #amwriting


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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Man vs. Nature saga, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the acclaimed Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Endangered Species, Winter 2024


83 thoughts on “#IWSG What Inspires Your Writing

  1. I wish research was more of an inspiration for me and less of a time suck. I enjoy it a little too much (I’m a librarian, so enjoying research is an occupational hazard), and I can fritter away hours researching some trivial thing that makes up a tiny portion of the story (if I use it at all).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The truth of great fiction – only possible after dedicated research, Connected at once with Grace’s comment – like painting a picture., and the concept of writing in layers.
    Every edit of my supposedly completed WIP reveals more – because so much more research has been done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Jacqui! I hope that you had fun on IWSG Day. I always enjoy visiting around. I’m inspired by research as well. Like you, I enjoy learning, and there are endless things to learn. You certainly put your research to good use in your marvelous prehistoric books! I didn’t really think of my characters as inspiring until you brought it up. But you’re right, they do. My characters are alive to me, and there’s always a point when they take control ~ lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Research inspires me too, because I can find things I did not know which fit like missing puzzle pieces into my story…
    Otherwise, anything can inspire me – a story I have read/ listened to, a song, an image…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The wind, a cloud, that crack in the sidewalk.
    A song, the screech of brakes, the roar of jet engines.
    Bacon firing in a pan, a green tomato about to ripen,
    A question, an answer or a word in between.
    or just putting hands on keys and letting my mind wonder where it may.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I am addicted to research. When I’m starting a new story I dive in, head first, and it takes an act of nature to bring me back. The blessing (and curse?) of research is that I usually end up with more story ideas to file away! I guess that’s not a bad thing, not really.

    The main thing that inspires me is my own, over-active imagination. I can hear a song, see a movie, read a story and suddenly I’m creating side plots, my own version, or a scene that would play out perfectly to the lyrics. Nothing is safe!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m general inspired by a concept or a What if? scenario, but I stay inspired by my characters. I can relate to feeling they are alive in my mind, and they seem to take on a life of their own. Writing is like continuing a friendship with them, and yes, they are full of surprises.
    My favorite thing is when my characters make me laugh out loud as I’m writing.
    Research has been a delightful find for me, since my Miss Liv Adventures series is my first step into historical settings. It can be a time consuming rabbit hole, but it’s amazing and fun to discover what’s hidden there!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Yes. I had some not-so-great History teachers in high school and took as little as possible in college because of it. They always seemed to focus on wars, which didn’t interest me much.
        It’s fascinating to look through the scope of more personal details needed in storytelling for a character from the time period.
        I also enjoy books that gather actual letters and diary entries, etc., to show social responses to the events of various eras.


  8. We may come from different parts of the world, but I like that we writers have so much in common. I haven’t met a writer yet who doesn’t feel a strong connection to their characters. They absolutely do feel real.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I went to the doctor’s office once and asked for a character in my book! I had just left my novel editing for the appointment and couldn’t quite pull myself out.

      That’s my long way of saying: I agree!


  9. Pingback: #IWSG What Inspires Your Writing – hermienzwiers.com

  10. Great response, Jacqui! I agree that research and characters can inspire a story. Only thing I can add to that is a setting can propel a story too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love it when the characters take on a life of their own and we have to steer them back a little bit. I remember writing a scene once and at the end of it, I did a silent clapping thing and squealed, “I didn’t know that was going to happen!” That makes writing fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Usually whatever sparked the story’s idea is what inspires me the most. But I’m also inspired by music, deadlines, research, character, plot, and sometimes just one really beautiful sentence. If there’s magic on the page, it makes me strive to make more.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Authoring stories is like painting a picture. I write in layers. The background of the picture is the setting where I do lots of research into the time and place. I get lots of ideas when I discover how people ate, dressed, spoke to one another and how they moved from one place to another. The characters are added to the picture with the way they feel about themselves and their interactions with their environment. What do my characters want and how far are they willing to go to get it? Adding motivation and pacing story keeps the reader turning the page.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Excellent inspiration, Jacqui.

    My mission motivates me to write: to entertain, inform, and inspire. I tap into my favorite Nelson Henderson quote for additional inspiration: “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Hi Jacqui – at the moment … I need a kick up the backside to get my act into gear – way too many choices in my head. I just think you’ve created wonderful characters – and yes they appear real. Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Good morning, dear Jacqui,
    writing non-fiction, I get most of my ideas when I am reading or when I chat with friends. Other people inspire me.
    A second source is dreams. Well, that’s self-inspiring.
    Keep well
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • That makes sense, Klausbernd. Friends and books are your research and then your big brain snaps the pieces together. I often call that akin to the Vulcan game of Kal-toh, where one move puts the entire picture into focus. StarTrek’s Tuvok said its purpose was to create “order even in the midst of profound chaos” but I say to get all the ducks in a row.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: #IWSG What Inspires Your Writing — – uwerolandgross

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