William Faulkner once said, “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o'clock every morning.” Gosh, I wish it were that simple for me. Honestly, I don't believe writers wait to be inspired before they write. The challenge might be more that they ignore the everyday happenings in their busy lives that can inspire their writing.
A young mother at the end of a hectic day has at least one more chore to do before she can plop into bed for some much needed rest. It's bedtime for her little girl; the one who wants to be sung to sleep every night. Weary, the woman trudges upstairs for their bedtime routine: go potty, change into pajamas, brush teeth, read story and say prayers. Along the way, the little girl has asked about going to the zoo soon, shared every single thing that happened at preschool that day, and asked for a drink of water.
Finally, it's time for bed. The woman stifles a yawn and plunks into the rocking chair beside her daughter's bed. She hoists the little girl with the binky planted between her pouting lips and a pink blanket in tow onto her lap, and settles into that one special position that is comfortable for both of them. Then she begins to rock and sing. She sings of frogs going courting and tiny little Thumbelina. The woman sings songs her mother wrote when she was just a little girl. She rocks and sings until her legs ache and her throat is horse, yet, the little girl's eyes are still peering up at her pleading for more. Now what will she sing? She's gone through every nursery rhyme and childhood song she can think of. The woman's mind wanders to Christmas, which is still months away. She knows decorating, baking for the neighbors, and the sending of cards will be added to her overloaded schedule. But then, she remembers the music. The wonderful hymns of peace, love, and joy that fill the season. So she pushes her feet against the floor once more and, as the rocker goes back and forth, she sings of stars at night and the night wind speaking to a little lamb and a little drummer boy who visits a special baby and gives him the gift of his music.
In the days that followed, the woman would use Christmas music to lull her daughter to sleep time and again. Each time she sang of that little drummer boy, her mind would wander to a young shepherd in the fields on the night of Christ's birth. He would be afraid to leave his sheep and join the other shepherds who were eagerly seeking out the baby the angels had just told them about. Then, in a moment of great faith, he agrees to go with them and, as a result, he saw the Holy Family and his life was forever changed.
Years passed. The little girl with the blanket and binky started school. The woman turned her attention to her life-long love of writing. In those early days, she sought inspiration and found it in the image of that young shepherd who stepped out in faith and left his sheep behind to visit a baby in a manager. That story becomes her first published book for children.
All around us, in the mundane and the extraordinary moments of living, inspiration is there. We only have to open our minds to all it has to offer us as writers.
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and the recently released, Amos Faces His Bully. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com