How to Keep the Creative Spark Alive
In addition to writing uplifting and inspiring stories of romance and faith, many Love Inspired authors have tried their hands at other creative pursuits. Read on for a sneak peek into the creative lives of some of our favorite storytellers and learn some tips for keeping the inspiration flowing!
Find a hobby that connects you to your stories.
“When I first started writing about the Amish, I admired their lifestyle and of course that included their quilting. I didn’t really believe I’d be able to do anything so intricate, and besides I was writing. Who had extra time to learn a new hobby? Over the years though, I came to understand that quilting was more than a hobby for the Amish. It’s also something they share—they pass it from one generation to the next, they care for one another by providing gifts, and they work together sewing for one another. Gradually I decided to see what this was all about, if only to be better able to write about it accurately. And of course, now I’m hooked. That’s often the way it is for me with creative endeavors. Curiosity leads to beginning, and who knows where that will end? I’m certainly not an expert quilter, but I’m no longer a novice, either. I enjoy the time away from the computer, and when I’m ‘stuck’ on a story line, an hour of quilting can help my mind shift into a different gear, the answers come, and I’m able to pick up that story line where I left it.” —Vannetta Chapman, author of An Unlikely Amish Match
Get your hands dirty!
“We own a pumpkin farm and the management of that falls to me. Farmer Dave does the tilling and spraying, but I’ve been known to grow six or seven thousand baby pumpkin plants in a few weeks’ time, and that way I’m hands-on with production. I’ve also taken over the production of tomatoes and peppers on my side of the farm, and with the help of family and friends and a couple of hardworking young people, we have the most fun every September and October. So now I’m bringing in the essence of being a food producer, a small business owner, a grower and a flower producer to my stories. Yet another fun facet of life in fiction blooms!” —Ruth Logan Herne, author of Learning to Trust
Let the creative process lead you in new directions.
“When I first started writing Amish stories for Love Inspired, I needed to research soap making for a couple of my books. I knew my great-grandmother had made her own soap and was enthralled by that process. I had a good friend in my church congregation who had learned to make soap from her sister and she showed me how to handle the lye. After that first time, I was bitten by the soap bug. It required planning to tweak my recipe so that I could unmold the soap the next day (rather than waiting several days), what fragrance oils to use, how to get the prettiest colors and swirls, and how to measure it all out just right so it fit well in my molds without overflowing or wasting any of the mixture. It took a lot of practice and trial and error to get it just right. And even now that I consider myself a pro, the soap can still surprise me. I soon found that making soap is just like writing a book. I have a plan and I love it, but sometimes it takes on a mind of its own and takes me in a different and pleasantly surprising direction. Ultimately, it’s the soap that’s going to make up its own mind about how it’s going to turn out. Likewise, the characters in my books take on their own personalities, stories and characteristics, and lead me to write. Even though I may have a synopsis and outline, when the characters take me in another direction, the book is always much better, has a deeper point of view and is a much more enjoyable story.” —Leigh Bale, author of Healing Their Amish Hearts
Collect new inspiration everywhere you go.
“I have a travel addiction. On every trip, I gain some snippet of information or inspiration that will eventually find its way into a story. I’ve had the opportunity to visit so many wonderful places over the years. The most exotic: Thailand. The biggest adventure: the Amazon jungle. The greenest: Ireland. The most fun: Hawaii. The most ancient: Egypt. The most awe-inspiring: Machu Picchu in Peru.” —Lisa Carter, author of A Mother’s Homecoming
“I really love photography. We try to go to a game park in South Africa once or twice a year, and for me it’s a favorite getaway to be out in the middle of nature with the animals. I love spending a day or two photographing the animals and birds. One of my heroines, Meghan Jordan in Deadly Safari, was a wildlife filmmaker and photographer. It was a lot of fun to weave a hobby I really enjoy into a story!” —Lisa Harris, author of Hostage Rescue
Discover a shared community and lift each other up.
“I love the water and every summer you’ll find me at the pool doing ‘aquacises’ with a bunch of other, often older women. I assure you, for me it’s not a physical fitness thing. It’s all about the ladies in the water with me, the fun we have cheering each other to exercise faster, the sharing of our life journeys, the encouragement when someone has something big going on in her life, like a surgery or becoming a grandparent. You’ll often find ladies’ groups or female mentors in my stories because I find so much value in women encouraging one another to believe in themselves and reach higher than they thought they could.” —Lois Richer, author of Hoping for a Father
Take time to enjoy things that bring you a sense of calm.
“I am as passionate about knitting as I am about writing (maybe even more!). I am almost never without yarn and needles. To me, they are my hobby, my calming device, my thinking tool, and what keeps my legendary impatience in check. I love the feel of yarn between my fingers, I am soothed by the rhythm of the stitches, and take tremendous satisfaction at watching a created piece come together out of mere ‘string and sticks.’ I believe my yarn creativity off the page enables my writing creativity on the page. Many of my books feature knitting and characters who knit. I’ve found that knitters are readers and readers are knitters, after all. If you see me at a bookstore or conference, come knit with me!” —Allie Pleiter, author of Their Wander Canyon Wish
“I love to do all kinds of crafts, especially knitting, crocheting and making things with my vinyl cutting machine. I’ve never included my hobbies in a story, but if I ever find myself with writer’s block, I’ll sometimes take time away from writing to crochet a hat or scarf or something. This allows me to unwind and helps clear my mind so I can move forward.” —Rhonda Starnes, author of Rocky Mountain Revenge
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