Inspiration – Another SCBWI Takeaway

Inspiration is a much-discussed part of the creative process. There are two parts to inspiration: all the inputs that feed inspiration and the moment of inspiration itself. While we may not be able to control the flash of inspiration and its timing, we can help lay the groundwork. The key is to expose ourselves and our children to experiences that can inspire us.

A childhood walk in the woods inspired nonfiction writer Melissa Stewart and her writings. Her father asked Melissa and her brother to look carefully. What did they see? Melissa noticed smaller, younger trees surrounded by taller, older trees. She was right; there had been a fire years before, and the young trees had sprouted after the fire. That experience — thanks to her dad — helped Melissa see the narrative in nature and influenced her career path and writings.

While I was at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference, my husband texted me at 10:o0 p.m. Sunday evening. Should he wake up Cooper to watch the Curiosity rover land on Mars. Yes! Yes! Yes! When we visited the Jet Propulsion Laboratory months ago, I was struck by how many members of the Mars Science Laboratory team remembered watching the Apollo 11 moon landing on television. They pointed to that experience as the inspiration for their work in space science. That same event, along with the book, THE RIGHT STUFF, inspired my husband to become a test pilot. I knew letting Cooper witness the event might provide him with the inspiration he needs to study Mars or other planets some day.

As a parent, I know we can provide opportunities and experiences that could inspire our children’s career path, creative work, hobbies or interests. As a writer, I know the more knowledge and experiences I have to draw from, the richer my work will be.

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16 responses to “Inspiration – Another SCBWI Takeaway

  1. Hi Kirsten, I truly believe that some experiences have to be experienced as they happen. I can think of a number of instances with different adults I have lived with who react differently. For example my mum wouldn’t let me go off on my first trip into a city with two older girls because dinner was ready. When I au paired the mum came in and turned the tele off for us to eat and the Grand Prix was about to start. It amazes me how many are missing out because of their rigid ways. Nice to be back!

    • Flexibility is not my strong suit, but I am trying for the sake of my kids. We normally don’t keep the TV on during the day, but we did watch some of the Olympics so we could talk about different countries, and I could show the boys all the sports that are out there. We also were able to talk about perseverance and hard work. If I had stuck to my rigid ways, they would not have had that experience. Thanks for your comments!

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