First, let me thank Catherine for hosting me on her blog. I appreciate this opportunity! Second, also allow me to say that I still myself as a new author even though I have published three books. I feel like there is so much I have yet to learn!
At the same time, I feel called to discuss the danger of “inspiration.” As a Christian author, I understand that we should be careful when taking bible verses out of context. For example, on my drive to visit a friend today, I heard the lyrics of a contemporary Christian song include Philippians 4:13 NSV “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” I hope the writers of the song realize that, in context, Paul wrote about being content in all circumstances. He was in prison! He certainly couldn’t do just anything he dared to dream—break the chains (even though that did happen at one point) or just walk out of prison (even though that happened at another time) unless God so wills. We need to remember that we can do all things that glorify God and not just any old thing.
So, now, I get to the topic of writing and inspiration. In many interviews, I am asked where do I get my inspiration? My go-to answer is everywhere—the newspaper, dreams, other people’s lives and stories, things that happened to me, and nudges from previous stories I’ve written. I have been listening to songs on the radio and the lyrics trigger an idea. Other authors have told me of ideas coming out of nowhere while they are driving, watching television shows, reading other books, you name it. There have been times when I have an issue I need to deal with in my life and a story arises to let me get the hurt out of my system.
I have stacks of folders with ideas just sitting on the shelf. Those folders may contain my notes, magazine or newspaper clippings, and other snippets that are the seeds of a book.
If you’re having writer’s block, I hope and pray that I may have just given you an idea as to where to get an idea.
My point is the next step, however. If you have all those ideas just lying around, how do you choose which one to turn into a short story or book, which one to allow to consume your life for maybe months?
First, you pray. Sorry I didn’t mention that earlier, but of course prayer can and should happen at any and every stage of your calling.
Second, which story is haunting you? Which one comes back to bug you when you’re taking a walk around your neighborhood, when you soak in the tub, or as you’re trying to go to sleep at night? By the way, bed, bath, and bus are famous in psychology as places to stir those creative juices.
Third, which one can you hold up to the light and see how the story might glorify God? This is where I may be different than others in my advice. Just because a story haunts you, just because it seems like something that could sell, just because you feel the need to write this particular story, doesn’t mean you should. This is the truth I want to leave you with, if I may. Be careful that inspiration doesn’t dictate your writing choices.
In so many areas of our lives, we are tempted. Our temptation sticks around and can be very strong. So, don’t think a particular story idea can’t take the form of temptation.
In conclusion, I think inspiration of any kind can be dangerous if we don’t hold it up to the light and see if it shines.
About the Author:
A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Christina Sinisi writes stories about families, both the broken and blessed. Her works include a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest and the American Title IV Contest in which she appeared in the top ten in the Romantic Times magazine. Her published books include The Christmas Confusion and Sweet Summer, the first two books in the Summer Creek Series, as well as the Christmas On Ocracoke and the upcoming Why They Call it Falling. By day, She is a psychology professor and lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina with her husband, two grown children and Hemingway cat, Chessie.
By Christina Sinsi
Shelby Marano is the youngest of three sisters and was always Daddy’s baby girl–until her father was murdered. Ever since, she’s been running from anyone or anything that could truly hurt her. Instead, she seeks calculated thrills that leave her exhilarated, but when she’s caught outside during a summer storm, she quickly realizes not all adventures are within her control.
Tyler Burgess offers her both refuge from the rain and a safe place to land.
Time spent with Tyler proves him to be much more than just a nerd in a history museum, but what she finds out about him is a deal breaker for her. As Shelby’s perfect little world is threatened by family health issues and an unknown stalker, she learns the hard lesson that no one can hide from the dangers of life. Can Shelby let her sisters, Tyler, and even more importantly, God, show her in one Sweet Summer, that love is worth taking the risk?