Friday, February 18, 2022

Everyday Inspiration for Writers

by Crystal Bowman

People who are not writers often ask where I get my ideas for books, devotions, and blogs. I confess that I do not have one of those sci-fi imaginations that can take readers into places where no one has gone before. But I am observant. And when mishaps, disasters, or pleasant surprises enter my world, they often become fodder for my writing.

The Banana Bread Disaster
I don’t like wasting food (or anything for that matter), so when three sad bananas were rotting on my kitchen counter, I found my recipe for banana bread, gathered the necessary ingredients, and blended them together. I poured the batter into a loaf pan and slid it into the oven. Thirty minutes later, I peeked through the oven’s window and did not see the rising loaf I was expecting to see. Instead, I saw a blob of banana paste in the loaf pan. I reread the recipe and realized I had forgotten one tiny ingredient—baking powder. Without baking powder the batter was useless. 

As I scooped the banana paste down the disposal, a Bible passage came to my mind. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV) the Apostle Paul writes, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

Applying the Lesson
Just like that missing teaspoon of baking powder made everything I did worthless, without the love of God in my life, my efforts at anything are also worthless. Love is the necessary ingredient in order for our lives to be purposeful and pleasing to God. As Paul explains in these verses, without love, we are nothing and we gain nothing. A few months later, I wrote a devotion called “The Missing Ingredient” where I made the connection between my banana bread mishap and 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Eventually it ended up in a book of devotions for moms. 

Ideas Are Everywhere
Almost everything I write has a story behind it because I get my ideas and inspiration from everyday life. A centipede crawling across my kitchen floor inspired a poem in one of my children’s books. A sweet comment from my grandson was added to one of my magazine stories. 
And when a grocery clerk charged me double for a cucumber, it became a humorous blog post. 

Writers notice things that others miss. We see metaphors and parallels and have many ah-ha moments. We write because God has called us to write. We write to encourage, inspire, and entertain readers. And if something we write brings a reader closer to God, that gives it all a greater purpose.

A Few Tips
If you need ideas to inspire your writing, be intentional about observing the world around you. Watch what people do and listen to what they say. Take a nature walk and write down what you see, hear, and smell. Read your Bible, then share the wisdom and understanding the Holy Spirit gives you. And if you’re really desperate for an idea, make a loaf of banana bread and turn the experience into a devotion!

Join the conversation—where do you find inspiration for your writing?


Crystal Bowman is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 100 books for children and four nonfiction books for women. She also writes lyrics for children’s piano music and is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine. She loves going to schools to teach kids about poetry. She also speaks at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups and teaches workshops at writers’ conferences. When she is not writing or speaking, she enjoys going for walks, working out at the gym, and eating ice cream. She and her husband live in Michigan and have seven huggable grandkids. 

Featured Image: Photo by Brandy Kennedy on Unsplash


  1. I enjoyed your message and your banana bread story. I can certainly identify with cooking mishaps. Thanks for inspiring us!