Rita Riebel Mitchell

Finding Inspiration in Personal Experiences

Life Happens

My sons were born 3 years and 2 weeks apart. Recently they had their 36th and 33rd birthdays. Wow. That was fast. It seems like yesterday…

Life happens. Change ensues. Whether good, bad, ordinary, or exciting, your life experiences shape the person you become. They also affect those around you.

Writing About It

All writers draw on their personal experiences. Whether their stories are fiction, fantasy, essay, or memoir, there’s a little bit of the author in every piece.

Take for example one of my most recent flash fiction stories, Lightning Strikes, published by Flash Fiction Magazine last month. As a child, I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandparents. They lived next door and had this wonderful wooden porch swing. The main character of my story starts out on that swing. Also in that story, the mother’s mania about short circuits and electrocution was sparked by memories of my father telling us to unplug everything when a storm was coming.

Other stories have been inspired by my family’s and friends’ experiences, individually as well as together. We learn more about each other every time we gather for holidays, at birthday parties, or around the fire pit. Meeting friends for lunch or dinner can provide much fodder for stories, too. (Don’t worry. I never name names.)

firepit gathering for inspiration

Pasttimes for Inspiration

People-watching and eavesdropping are perfect pastimes for a writer. I always keep a notebook handy because, if I pay attention, I’ll find so many ideas that I can’t possibly remember all of them.

I wonder if other writers jot notes when they read a book, watch television, or listen to a podcast, like I do. Do they record ideas on their phones when out walking or even while sitting on the beach, like I do? Many writers probably find their best ideas when they observe as well as experience life. I know I do.


Where do you find inspiration?


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