Where Do We Get Our Inspiration to Write?

By Lana Wayne Koehler

I always thought that being a writer meant that there were nice stories to write and that editors and publishers bought them. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

“I admire anyone who has the guts to write anything at all.” 
E.B. White
The first children’s book that I ever wrote, and the reason that I became a children’s writer, was terrible! I remember bringing it to my first critique meeting. Convinced that it was the most wonderful story ever written (don’t we all!), I volunteered to read it for the group. Afterward, there was no applause, no standing ovation, and no whistles from the crowd. Instead, the leader pronounced it “interesting”. I was devastated!

Fighting back the tears through the rest of the meeting, I couldn’t wait until it was all over and I would take my precious story and go home, never to come back to this horrible place and certainly never to write again.

On the way out, one of the ladies at the meeting invited me to come out for coffee with the group. She also said that she like my story. She liked it! She really liked it! I digress.

I went for coffee and the rest was history.

“What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story.” 
- F . Scott Fitzgerald

The truth is, I had a lot to learn. I still have a lot to learn! The discouragement that I felt turned into determination. I began to take classes. Lots of classes. And, eventually, I joined my local chapter of SCBWI. There, I finally met kindred spirits who understood my writer’s angst, and I learned the rules for writing for children.

"There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” 
- W. Somerset Maugham

I began to write about new and more interesting topics that interested me. It wasn’t until I was sitting in my allergist’s office and realized that there were no children’s picture books about allergies that I went home and wrote one! With the help of my co-author, Gloria G. Adams, our book, Ah-Choo! was finished and published in 2016. What was my inspiration? The allergies that I have struggled with for years!

“Write like it matters, and it will” 
- Libba Bray

Inspiration can come in many forms and from many sources. My current project, a biography, has yet to be sold, despite my longing for others to know about this person as I do. I continue to submit to a variety of editors and publishers in the hope of enticing someone to buy it.

In the meantime, I will always look for new topics to write about in unusual ways or from unusual places. I hope that you will, too.

“What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about.” 
- Julie Wright