Posts Tagged ‘writing secrets’


With my fifth book underway, and after so many characters, places, plots, love angles and love triangles later, my friends and colleagues often ask me, “Where do you get the inspiration for writing?,  How did you come up with that character?,  Where did you get this or that idea?, …”.  There’s not one answer to this question, as the ideas and inspirations come to me from everywhere.  It might be while I’m showering, or walking my dog, or it might be something that I read in the newspapers or magazine, that triggers an idea, which later converts into something else.  It might be a comment from a friend, or a postcard from a far away place.  But what I think is the most important for any writer, is to write down your ideas – write them in a notebook, on your computer, or smatphone or tablet, record it and keep it safe.  I find it helpful and inspiring when I am browsing through my random notes, thoughts and ideas.  Often the notes I saved spark another thought or idea, and before you know it, the book title, or the book character, or the entire novel has been born.

Writers’ Digest magazine published 90 years worth of author secrets, and I thought I would share some with you today, which are related to Inspiration and Ideas.  It is fascinating to observe what has changed since 1920-ies, and it is equally astonishing to realise how much good, sound writing wisdom remains the same.

Author Secrets: Inspiration & Ideas

 “If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed quickly, to trap them before they escape.”
—Ray Bradbury

 “Good writing is remembering detail. Most people want to forget. Don’t forget things that were painful or embarrassing or silly. Turn them into a story that tells the truth.”
—Paula Danziger

“Every idea is my last. I feel sure of it. So, I try to do the best with each as it comes and that’s where my responsibility ends. But I just don’t wait for ideas. I look for them. Constantly. And if I don’t use the ideas that I find, they’re going to quit showing up.”
—Peg Bracken

“I have never felt like I was creating anything. For me, writing is like walking through a desert and all at once, poking up through the hardpan, I see the top of a chimney. I know there’s a house under there, and I’m pretty sure that I can dig it up if I want. That’s how I feel. It’s like the stories are already there. What they pay me for is the leap of faith that says: ‘If I sit down and do this, everything will come out OK.’”
—Stephen King

“Sit and quiet yourself. Luxuriate in a certain memory and the details will come. Let the images flow. You’ll be amazed at what will come out on paper. I’m still learning what it is about the past that I want to write. I don’t worry about it. It will emerge. It will insist on being told.”
—Frank McCourt

“As writers we live life twice, like a cow that eats its food once and then regurgitates it to chew and digest it again. We have a second chance at biting into our experience and examining it. … This is our life and it’s not going to last forever. There isn’t time to talk about someday writing that short story or poem or novel. Slow down now, touch what is around you, and out of care and compassion for each moment and detail, put pen to paper and begin to write.”
—Natalie Goldberg

writing routine

There’s no other way to kick off our new Friday Author Secrets column than with our very own Madison Lake.  Hit it Madison!

Question: What is your writing routine?

RL:  We understand most writers have a daily routine that can almost become ritual.  Can you tell us a little bit about your daily writing routine?

ML:  Yes, that is so true.  My routine has changed since I got my dog, but it’s generally the same.  I wake up, feed and walk her.  That’s now first.  Wow, amazing how she’s become #1.  (laughs).  What’s good about that though is having a good, long walk before settling down to write for the day.  It’s wonderful.  Anyway, when I do hit my computer, which is where I write my novels, I do a quick check of Facebook, Twitter and emails.

RL:  Ah, so you are one of those internet junkies?

ML:  (laughs) Of course I am!  First of all there might be something important from a publisher or colleague, and secondly, I feel I should get the normal daily stuff over with so my slate is clean to begin writing.

RL:  Good point.  Then what?

ML:  I read a few paragraphs from where I left off, or maybe even the chapter before, so I can pick up on the thread.  At this point the story may change direction from where I left off or it may go the way I had originally envisioned.  I let my fingers do the walking, or maybe it’s my imagination that does the walking and my fingers follow (laughs again).  In any case, I write all day, taking dog walking and internet breaks.

RL:  Do you set daily goals?

ML:  No, because I generally accomplish a lot.  If I don’t it’s because it wasn’t meant to be.  I try to let my writing come organically.  For me that’s the best way.

RL:  Do you write every day?

ML:  Yes, every day.

If you have any questions for Madison about this post, please comment and we will do our best to answer your question.

To read about other authors, their writing routines, where they get their ideas, and other juicy tips, tune in next Friday right here at

Have a great weekend!