Guest Blogger: Catrina Barton on Finding Inspiration

My friend “yeahshippo” and I were talking about writing. I told him I was looking for a subject for a writing article.

Having already written tons of articles on writing, revising, editing, and marketing, I wanted something fresh.

So we got on the subject of “Inspiration” I started thinking about all the places I’ve drawn inspiration from over the years, and that’s where the idea for this article came from.

Ways to find inspiration for writing:

by Catrina Barton

There is the typical reading other books, or watching movies, to see what inspires you.

What other ways can you find inspiration?

Honestly there is inspiration all around you. All you need to do is pay attention.

What are your kids or nieces and nephews doing as the play outside? What snippets of their conversations have sparked an idea in your fertile mind? What happens when your kids interact with their pets?

What about the conversations around you?

Look at the area around you. How are the shadows reacting to the sun, or light? How do the animals interact with one another?

What trees, flowers, park, mountains, or popular hangout nearby hold special memories for you?

What songs hold special meanings for you?

What pieces of your childhood, good or bad, could become the seed for a plot line to grow from?

Watch the people around you. Which traits do they have that make them such quirky people? How can you add those traits to your characters and keep them unique?

Search people, places, and things around you for ideas.


Newspaper articles.

Your baby book.

Year books, ect.

One  of my favorite techniques I use to “shake plot bunnies loose” is:

Start by free writing for 15-20 minutes.

Set your timer to 15-20 minutes and just write whatever comes to mind.

It can be:

A description of the room around you, engaging at least three of the senses.

A to do list.

An article of clothing.


Just write.

You’d be surprised what comes out of these little sessions. Some of my best ideas come from doing this.

Okay, we’ve covered the many ways we can be inspired. What about how to stay inspired?

I have two techniques I rely on.

1.} Listening to music to help create the atmosphere you’re going for. I adore rock music for the battle scenes. The faster tempo of the music sets an awesome background for the action to take place.

For romance I fall back onto the 80’s music I grew up with.

If I want a really dark scene, I’ll find some modern song that speaks to me.

Music has always relaxed me, and has proven an invaluable tool to my writing process. Plus, I can’t help but get up and dance to it, so I also get exercise and my brain takes a break, which opens the door for new ideas to burst forth.

2.} Have an idea bouncing session with someone you trust to give good feedback. Bounce ideas back and forth. What seems funny? What seems serious? What specific elements does your novel need?

Talk it out.


You would be amazed how excited you both get as you discuss what’s happened, and what needs to happen later on. Don’t be afraid to ask for ideas to help get you from what isn’t currently working, to where you need to be later.

Explore all ideas that come up. Not right away mind you. That’s what your notebook is for. Write them in the notebook and continue the discussion.

Like word association, but with ideas instead of words. I usually start with:

“What if?”

That’s a great spot to start. That simple question can spark a lot of ideas, and having someone to discuss them with helps see which ideas will and won’t work, and why.

Whenever I feel stuck, my mother-in-law and I will sit down and discuss the book.

Where I am and why I feel something isn’t working.

We will toss ideas back and forth for how to fix what we both see is wrong.

She’s a picky reader. So her insight is invaluable to me. She’s awesome at having ideas, lol. Not so much at writing them out. So, I tell or show her where I am and then we discuss what could be done from there.

Between the two of us we have at least a dozen ideas pop out that I jot into a notebook and let sit aside for me to look over later.

In that notebook, I mark the main idea, and the plot bunnies that spring forth from the idea and we discuss them until we find one we both adore. Not just agree upon, but are both fascinated by the possibilities of.

Then I do some free writing and see where it goes. I do this for each idea, until I find the one that works best with my current characters. The other ides I set aside for other possible stories in the future.


Dangerous Temptation Cover

Short Excerpt:


“I’m not afraid of you.” Kaitlin stroked his scarred cheek.

“You should be.” His hand cupped hers, heat pouring into her skin. Cadmon pressed it firmly against his cheek. He nuzzled it, before pulling it away.

“You’re not a monster.” She licked her bottom lip. “You’re… beautiful.” She ran a finger along his squared jaw line.

“Men aren’t beautiful.” He held her fingers away from him, staring from them, into her eyes. “What have you done to me?” Confusion etched onto his face.

“I could ask you the same thing.” She swallowed, and tugged her fingers away from him, rubbing them down the side of her jeans, hoping to chase away the electric currents tingling her skin.


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Author Profile

Catrina Barton is a real go-getter, who in 2006 turned her avid reading addiction since she was three, into a vigorous passion for writing. Especially Young Adult Romances. She draws on her knowledge as a Kung-Fu Instructor to make her fight scenes both realistic, and action packed.
When not indulging her fertile imagination to craft stories for your reading pleasures, she enjoys hiking with her family, and amateur belly dancing.
Her love of writing, and her family, rival her exhilaration from helping fellow writers. She is a proud member of many writing, and marketing groups, and an active participant at Critique Circle, and several other crit groups.

Writes reviews for Safari Heat, and Satin Sheets Romance.
Favorite personal quote:
“An author cannot grow without both constructive criticism and encouragement.”

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7 comments on “Guest Blogger: Catrina Barton on Finding Inspiration

  1. Hi Erin. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you find many wonderful ideas. 🙂
    Hi Melissa. Thanks for stopping in. I’ve had some of my best ideas come at the most inconvenient times. 🙂


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