Through the years there are several people who have inspired and motivated me to be the writer I am today. There have been author’s, professors, family members, friends, colleagues, strangers, and my husband and children.
I didn’t start off being a writer but came to find it was a passion later in life. I was a big reader growing up. That’s no secret to those who know me. Books make me happy and allow me to expand the perception of the world from outside my small circle.
Growing up in a small town you have to find other worlds to enter and learn about things that aren’t taught in school.
I started writing poetry, songs and short stories in late high school. It wasn’t until I began my first few years in college that I picked up the writing bug. I started to get excited about papers and required reading.
A 10-page paper was an easy feat for me. Many of my classmates moaned and groaned about how long it would take them to finish a paper. I looked forward to the research and jotting down ideas.
I fell in love with the process of writing and preparation. I found the details behind the story were just as important and fun as the story or topic itself. Writing came so naturally.
Storytelling came in waves and I honed my skills as I learned more about writing. I took classes online and in person as I began to expand my skill set. I then began to write for myself. I moved to write short stories and received feedback from professors.
In 2014, I took a giant leap and posted a story online. I didn’t expect to get much of a response. Boy did that change things for me. Not overnight but in progression.
I quickly began to earn a following of readers. Soon, I found that I had thousands reading what I wrote. It was overwhelming at first, a little hard to believe. I later became thankful and grateful for my readers.
I found a community of people and began to share it with others. Today, I’ve written a total of 35 short stories, books, poems and more in just 3 years.
I found that it is a good way to express my feelings, fears, anxieties, desires, hopes, and dreams. I like to tell stories. Along the way, I have learned from a lot of people.
I’d like to take the time now, to explain my personal connection with those who have inspired me. The living and the dearly departed.
1. Ms. Grace. My fourth-grade teacher had a big influence on me as a writer. I began to write goofy poems in school. I learned at a young age that I possessed a creative and artsy personality. She encouraged me to read more and I learned about poetry from haikus to freestyle. I still look back and have fond memories of my early poetry days.
2. Emily Dickinson. “Hope” is the thing with feathers was the first poem I read. I remember thinking that it had a profound impact on me. Partly, I think she had an impact on me becoming a songwriter. The poem reminded me of a song and I’d hum along to a tune that I created on my own. Her darker works were a way of coping with the dark things in my own life. I find that my poetry writing had evolved when I began to take interest in Emily. My favorite quote from her is “The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” It stood out to me. Emily Dickinson taught me that words had power and she refused to be confined to what was expected of her. I love that she experimented with different voices. Narrator or protagonist. Another thing I admired about her was her unusual punctuation and spelling choices. I found it interesting to see. If you haven’t read works by Emily Dickinson, I suggest you do some research. There are nearly 1800 poems to choose from. Letters to friends and alike are interesting too. It would’ve been a hoot to meet her in person.
3. Robert Frost. I was enthralled by his poems. Mostly because it contained such vivid imagery. I found that when he wrote, I could see the image he was portraying to the audience. There was a sense of realism that I connected to. At times, he made the poems sound lyrical in nature. His dialect was used consistently. His natural ability to write words with such great meaning. I have favorites but one I consider inspirational is The Road Not Taken. That stood out to me in my teens. It made me realize that I didn’t have to conform to what everyone around me was doing. I could forge my own path. He sent me down a path of self-exploration.
4. William Shakespeare. What can I say? I’m a romantic. Romeo and Juliet had to my favorite at first. Then, others began to pave a path for me. I think that Shakespeare was a brilliant man. His name is spoken through the writing world every day. I learned a lot from this man. I found that I could push the boundaries and write about things that were hard to discuss. Writing about topics that were controversial seemed taboo and unheard of. I could push guilt and fear aside and write about what moved me. I didn’t fear backlash out of opinionated subjects. I also had my first taste of romantic writing from learning about Shakespeare. I think he’s on my list of top 10 people I would want to meet who are no longer with us.
5. Shel Silverstein. Where the Sidewalk Ends were one of my first ever poetry books. I loved the illustrations and the poems still pop in my head today. I branched out to more of his works like Falling Up and A light in the Attic. This man is brilliant in his work. He was funny and created creatures that were interesting. I also enjoyed songs that he’s written. A song regularly played in our household (A million times) was “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash. Silverstein has been an influence on my life. I’ve learned creativity, humor, style, and rhythm from his works.
6. Mary Higgins Clark. I grew up reading her books and I have plenty in my library. I’d say that she had a knack for suspense. I learned a lot about suspense from her and I put it in my writing to this day. I enjoy a bit of suspense in a book and she was the Queen. I enjoyed her books from The Cradle Will Fall to Daddy’s Gone Hunting. I mean years of books that have taught me and brought me along a journey. Fun times thinking of old books that I read. It’s fun going back and looking at books you read. I’m adding a few to read again for fun.
7. Judy Blume. Growing up we are shielded by what is acceptable or unacceptable for an age group. I have always considered myself an old soul. I matured quickly and had difficulty fitting in with my peers. I didn’t discuss the matter nor did I rub it in their faces. I just had a different maturity level. Judy Blume was a controversial but amazing author. Writing young adult books for us that didn’t talk about issues at home. Blume tackled hard subjects and faced critics. Racism, masturbation, menstruation, family issues, divorce. These subjects were taboo to discuss with teenagers. For me, I remember finding solitude in her writing. Reading about subjects that could impact me or people around me. I grew up with Judy Blume and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve written about things that push the boundary a bit. I quite enjoyed the story of Margaret in Are you there, God, It’s me Margaret. Thanks, Judy.
8. Leo Tolstoy. Three words: Read War and Peace. I know that it’s long and parts are dull but you will thank yourself. I mean, you will feel things, you’ll cry and you’ll have adventures of the people you read about. I remember reading this and thinking how the importance of characters was a flip of a page. The insignificant view from the outside. Then shifts from the inside and they are the focus and significance in the new view. I’m considering reading it again after all these years. I mean, you can never get enough of Tolstoy. Best novelist of all time. How can I not be inspired?
9. Danielle Steel. I’ve always had a few Steel books in my personal library. My last read was Undercover. I love that her books always had a crisis to solve. It was like being told a story and trying to figure out what was going to happen. I learned how to hold details and clues from her. I also learned what not to do. I feel although I enjoy her books, that it lacks subtly. At times, I think she can be over the top and the romantic aspects are often rushed and seem unrealistic. I found that fleshing out the background and lead up to is extremely important. For example, in Undercover, her story was suspenseful and filled with crisis and overcoming struggles. Then the last couple of chapters the romance comes rushed and incomplete. I felt no rush or believability in the characters love for one another. I still enjoy her books and learned from her critics on how to improve my writing.
10. C.S. Lewis. When I was a child, I read the series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Yes, before it was adapted into the films that most of you have seen. I recommend you read the books. Always read the books before watching the movie. Always. They have been an enlightenment for fantasy in children’s books. I got into fantasy reading sometime in my early childhood. I found that it was much easier reading books like these with the imagination I possessed. I find that he was full of expression, creativity and captured my attention. I didn’t want to put the books down. If I can’t put a book down, the author should take that as a huge compliment.
11. Edgar Allen Poe. I’m not a big gothic genre fan. However, a friend of mine growing up was into Poe. I had my ideas and opinions against some of his work but he was brilliant. However, he did write hoaxes and humor along with his dark and subjects like death, decomposition and dark romanticism. I’d have to say that after a very talented composer, took on The Raven, I found an even closer connection to my earlier feelings of Poe. I have found inspiration and use aspects of Poe in my writing when warranted.
12. Louisa May Alcott. Ever seen the movie Little Woman? No? Are you living under a rock? I’m kidding, but if you haven’t I’d be surprised. Domesticated living, work, and love were the themes of her novel. It was solely based on her life and relationships with her sisters. It really shows how family life consists of sacrifice, hard work, and love. I love the novel and it impacted me as a woman and a writer. Alcott was an abolitionist and a Feminist. I have high respect for her not only as an author but as a person.
13. Anne Frank. This one might seem a bit odd to some. Anne Frank was a prominent person in my childhood library. Resilience, strength, fearlessness, courage, and understanding. A child who feared for her life every day found a way to live within the constraints posed upon her. Could you, do it? A young girl who grew to learn about herself without the guidance she needed. Learning and growing with a family she loved. Even up to the end of her life, she held tight to her self-worth. Anne Frank will forever teach future readers and writers a thing or two.
14. Ernest Hemingway. He was such an influential writer and I loved his stylistic approaches. If you haven’t read Old Man and the Sea, I suggest that you do that. It’s his best work in my opinion. Another thing that I enjoyed about Hemingway was his clear ability to connect the dots and lead from one event to the next. His structure and prose style was inspired. I’d say that I’ve learned from him in many ways. His frequent repetition of words in phrases could be a bit redundant but in poetry, it has its purpose in some cases. I used that style a couple times as experimentation and it worked for what I was doing. Hemingway was expressive in all languages and that is an important trait to have as a writer.
15. John Steinbeck. Grapes of Wrath was required reading in high school for me and I simply loved it. I loved it so much that I moved on to other Steinbeck works such as Of Mice and Men, Tortilla Flat, and East of Eden. His writing was extremely realistic and other times imaginative. I enjoyed his ability to tell a story in the basic reality. I enjoyed Steinbeck and learned how to use realistic writing in my own work. To me, now it’s important to be as realistic as possible when writing about certain topics. Fantasy has its place but who wants to read a story that lacks a sense of reality? I sure wouldn’t enjoy it much. Imaginative writing is just as important. I still struggle with imaginative writing but as a writer, I find that Steinbeck gives me an extra boost when I need it.
16. Mark Twain. Who hasn’t read or seen the movie of The Adventure of Tom Sawyer or Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? I’d say that I read these books more than twice. I loved these stories. I also really enjoyed The Prince and the Pauper, which I’ve always regarded as a brilliant work. I was able to use some stylistic choices and themes from Twain to better my own writing.
17. Dr. Seuss. I think it’s easy to say that Seuss has been a big inspiration in many children’s lives. I find that he takes situations and makes people feel good about things they normally wouldn’t be confident about. There is a creativity yet relatable aspect to his writing. Imagination goes beyond what even I can see. I have such a great respect to the topics that are chosen and interpreted for young children. My kids read books and some they don’t quite understand. Seuss is brilliant and there will never be another like him. I tip my hat to you, sir.
18. Jane Austin. Pride and Prejudice have to be my favorite novel and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie rendition. I have it in my video library and often watch it purely out of entertainment. It’s Gold. Jane Austin had the ability to tell a wonderful love story even if she focused on women’s standing based on marriage and social standing. However, in her days that was what was acceptable and I find it admirable that she never married. Jane Austin is by far one of the most influential romantic writers of her time. Critics and scholars regard her writing as historically important and social standings were a big focus. I myself, think that she was a wonderful writer with a sense of reality. I learned a lot from Jane and have snuck in references to her books in some of my writing.
19. Nora Roberts. I first fell in love with Nora Robert’s writing at the age of eleven. I found a book, River’s End and I couldn’t put it down. Her ability to tell a story with so many aspects and emotions appealed to me. I find that the first book I read of hers, is still my favorite today. Through the years, I’ve read countless books and I am engorged in each one. I haven’t come across a Nora Roberts book that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. I think she gave me huge inspiration to begin writing. Even if I didn’t realize it for a few years after I began reading her works. I have yet to read the books under her name, J.D. Robb. I plan to move to those soon because I’ve read reviews and am excited to dip my toes in the Robb pond.
20. Jodi Picoult. My three favorite novels from Jodi Picoult are My Sister’s Keeper, Plain Truth and Nineteen Minutes. Another author who completely allows me to get lost in a story and provides me with a heart wrenching emotional state. I also love the way that she shifts from one topic to the next and can find a way to bring it back. I completely expect something to happen and think that I am right and then it turns into something else entirely. Picoult has the ability to provide readers with an experience that stays with you. All these novels are stories that impact people and leave you with a deep-rooted feeling in your gut. I still think about these characters from time to time. Picoult has taught me to reach for the deeper feelings and to not be afraid to show it. I’ve been able to put more into my writing because of her.
21. Nicolas Sparks. Suzanne’s Letter to Nicolas was probably one of my favorite novels. He’s written so many great ones that have been adapted to movies and others that have not. Sparks has a knack for love and I enjoy reading his books. Dear John, was a great novel that had me balling. Almost all his books pull at the heartstrings but in the best way possible. Sparks is a great person to pull inspiration from and I enjoy taking some of what he’s taught me and applying it to my work.
22. J.K. Rowling. A new love for me. I’ve only now, read her books. I just finished the fifth book and I can’t seem to put them down. The Harry Potter series is just brilliant and I’d love to have a conversation with her. I’d love to find out where her names, and imagination came from. This was seriously just great. I’m a little mad at myself for not picking them up and reading sooner. For now, I am in love and am enjoying the last of the books. I still have not seen all of the movies but I think that’s a good thing. I’m taking a lot of her and learning. Inspiration comes in many forms.
23. James Patterson. I was inspired by Patterson’s thriller novels and enthralled with the way he was able to rope me in. Alex Cross had to be one of my favorite of his. I couldn’t put the book down and was totally absorbed in the story. I also enjoyed his romance too although I wasn’t drawn in the same way as the thrillers. Some may perceive it a problem that he uses co-authors. I don’t share that negative spotlight. I find that if he needs help or another perspective, why not use it? Patterson is successful but the thing that inspires me the most is the ability to draw me in and to tell an amazing story.
24. Family. My family is diverse and I get inspiration from their strength, determination, education, wisdom, and love. There are many that have individually inspired me. The strength to continue when the pain is too much to bear. Putting their personal issues aside and willing to help others before themselves. Showing their ability to adapt to situations out of their plans. Overcoming obstacles and mistakes and turning into bright beautiful people. All the children with diverse abilities and potential. Professional success. Personal milestones. Growth. I could go on and on. I’m extremely proud of my family and they inspire me to be a better person and a better writer.
25. Husband/Kids. The people you spend the most time with are your support system. In the last 3 years that I’ve developed as a writer, my husband has been extremely supportive. Understanding long hours, research and even giving me, feedback have been the greatest gift. My children are rambunctious and full of energy and ideas. I get inspiration from their bright faces and outgoing personalities. I’ve even snuck in aspects of their lives in my stories in subtle ways. They are the biggest gift a mother and author could as for.
There you have it. These are people who inspire me to be a writer and I simply enjoy reading works from the author’s listed above. It’s important to have an eclectic library. I find that if you read the same genre or the same author, you are depriving yourself.
I’ve read all sorts of genres even if I wasn’t originally drawn to them in the first place. I didn’t think that I’d enjoy thrillers until I picked up a book one day and found that I loved them. That was nearly a decade ago.
You never know unless you try. Reading is a journey and you find your likes and dislikes easily. Writing is the same in turn. I have tried to write certain genres and found that it wasn’t my specialty.
Everyone writes and reads differently and that is the most beautiful thing about this world. Inspiration is everywhere and in the most unexpected places.
I encourage you to find who inspires you and to use it to your advantage. I also recommend that you pick up that book that you’ve always wanted to read but were scared you wouldn’t like it.
Take that step and dive into the unknown. You never know where it may take you.