Friday, May 19, 2023

Ideas and Inspiration for Writers

by Crystal Bowman 

Writers are an eclectic bunch of humans. Some are shy and introverted who prefer to create their stories in a quiet and cozy room with the fireplace glowing and their favorite beverage an arm’s length away. Other writers are extroverts who get antsy at home. They pack their laptop, cell phone, and chocolates in a trendy tote bag and head for the nearest coffee shop. Some writers have other careers to manage, so they mentally shift gears and click the keyboard during their lunch hour. No matter how, when, or where we write, it’s an experience that few non-writers understand.  

The two big questions for writers:

One of the questions I am often asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?” 
There’s no easy answer for that. To avoid an lengthy reply that might bore the listener, my go-to response is, “Ideas are everywhere.”

Another frequent question is, “What inspires you to write?” Again—no easy answers here. Sometimes an everyday experience inspires me—like the time I saw a formation of clouds that looked like a row of angels dancing in the sky. Other times I am inspired by a verse from the Bible that speaks to me. And sometimes I’m inspired to write because I have a looming deadline.  

Here’s the thing—many writers view life from a different lens than nonwriters. We see beyond the surface. We can take everyday observations and apply them to something deep and meaningful. We are inquisitive and wonder how and why things are the way they are. Writers have creative minds that allow them to imagine different scenarios. We are also storytellers. Whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, an article, or devotion, we communicate through story. It’s how our brains are wired. 

To be more specific in answering those questions, here are a few thoughts:

My ideas come from observing the people and world around me and turning those observations into stories. 
  • Watching a documentary on elephants in Africa gave me the idea to write a devotion on friendship titled, “A Lesson from the Elephants.” 
  • Seeing a centipede crawl across my kitchen floor made me wonder how it knew when to move each of its tiny legs. “The Centipede” became a humorous poem in my children’s poetry book. 
  • Witnessing a toddler stretch her leg to sink her patent leather shoe in a mud puddle while holding her daddy’s hand gave me an idea for a short story tilted, “Messy Sidewalks.”
When it comes to inspiration, I believe it comes from my passion for writing. Even though writing can be frustrating, stressful, and challenging, writing makes me happy. It’s what God created me to do. I love the entire process of writing—from brainstorming ideas, to creating, revising, and editing, to pressing SEND. I also believe in divine inspiration. I pray for God to give me clarity and wisdom as I write. Most of all I pray that my words would speak truth and bring others to a deeper understanding of God’s love. 

Nonwriters will never fully understand the life of a writer. They assume we are rich and famous because we have published something. But I’m sure there is much I do not understand about other professions. I’m just thankful to have friends and acquaintances in this wonderful, crazy writers’ world—who are indeed, an eclectic bunch! 


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. 


  1. Crystal,

    Thank you for these behind-the-scenes insights for every writer--including me. Each of us have amazing opportunity if we seize it and capture those ideas then send them out into the world.


    author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition) [Follow the Link for a FREE copy]

  2. Thank you for your comment, Terry. I know you have many insightful words to share as well.

  3. Great insight into a writer’s mindset!

  4. Thank you for sharing inspiring words that spark creativity to the minds of writers everywhere.

  5. How did you KNOW?! Sitting near the woodstove with a pot of tea on hand, so grateful to have the house to myself...those are the good days. Taking it all out into the spring morning light in the garden tops that.