Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What inspires you to write?

Earlier this summer, I asked a couple of my friends if they would be willing to share what inspires them to write. This week, my dear friend Brittney Breakey weighs in....

What inspires me to write? That is such a huge question. To say everything would be cheating, right? Okay, how about my top five?

The Power of Suggestion
Mom and I were in the office, unpacking boxes—way past my bedtime. She reached for a shabby book. “I remember loving this one,” she said. “Britt, you should read this.”

Being eight years old, I took her words very seriously. In the midst of empty pizza boxes and packing peanuts, I grabbed the book, scurried to my bedroom, and zipped through the first half of The Hidden Staircase. When I read the last page, I had a serious decision to make. Should I be a detective like Nancy Drew or a writer like Carolyn Keene? You can probably guess which one I chose.

I began filling spiral notebooks with stories like The Escape of Rose Collins, The Wacky Hat Party, and Minnie May the Cat. I got so busy writing, I stopped reading altogether.

But don’t worry. I didn’t stay stupid forever.

My Rekindled Love for Reading
I wrote my first book without reading more than two books of fiction. Shudder. Can you believe it? Then I listened to an interview and the author said, “Don’t even think about writing until you’ve read at least 100 books.” I took those words seriously and thirty days later, I’d read 32 middle grade novels. Talk about a powerful wave of rejuvenation! Now I can’t go a day without reading fiction. It’s food to a writer’s belly.

The Library—The Best Place on Earth
Oh my goodness, I could sit and read in the library for my whole life. The second I enter those glass doors, time stops. And that is the honest truth.

Livin’ Life Kick-Starts Creativity
Life is packed with writing material. You accidentally burp into the microphone as you’re reciting the Declaration of Independence. A wasp stings your ear the second you say, “Will you marry me?” You wet your pants when a cousin sneaks up and scares you. You get attacked by wasps on a family camping trip. You slip on a banana slug and break your leg. All these things are downright miserable, but they all scream Book Material! You can take the worst day that you ever had, give it time and it will become hilarious. Horrible Day + Time = Powerful/Funny Story. As Neil Gaiman says, “Go get your heartbroken. Then come back and write about it.”

My Greatest Inspiration—Matthew Allan Jones
Every Saturday, my brother, Matt, and I read my work-in-progress, which he calls “Top Secret.” It’s truly the simple things he says that inspire me to keep going. He’ll quote a line and look at me, waiting to see if I caught on. Then we’ll share a smile. Or he’ll ask me to read a chapter again, just because he likes it. Or he’ll text me during the week, wondering how many words I’ve written. His innocent enthusiasm for this story is pushing me to persevere.

About Brittney Breakey
Brittney is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature and the Christian Writers Guild. She’s currently working on a humorous middle grade mystery novel—and loving it. She also operates Author Turf, a site exclusively created to showcase authors.


  1. Jen...

    Wonderful post. Thanks for the nudge to remember that ideas are all around us--put there by the One Who created it all. He's giving us ideas :-) Brittney, thanks for the inspiration!


  2. Hi Deb!

    Thank you! I had a great time writing it. =)